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6 Surprising Causes of Bad Breath:
Beyond Oral Hygiene

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be an embarrassing condition that affects individuals regardless of age or oral hygiene habits. While poor dental hygiene is often the primary culprit, several surprising causes of bad breath extend beyond brushing and flossing alone. In this blog, we’ll explore some lesser-known factors that contribute to unpleasant breath and discuss how to address them effectively.

Dry Mouth:

Saliva plays a crucial role in keeping the mouth clean by rinsing away bacteria. When the mouth becomes excessively dry, such as during sleep or due to certain medications, the lack of saliva allows bacteria to proliferate, leading to bad breath. Staying hydrated, chewing sugar-free gum, and using saliva substitutes can help combat dry mouth and freshen breath.

Sinus and Respiratory Infections:

Persistent bad breath can result from sinus and respiratory infections. Bacteria thrive in the mucus produced during these infections, releasing foul-smelling compounds that contribute to halitosis. Treating the underlying infection through appropriate medical intervention often resolves the associated bad breath.

Certain Foods:

It’s no secret that strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions can cause temporary bad breath. However, other foods with high protein content, such as dairy products, can also lead to bad breath. The breakdown of proteins by oral bacteria produces sulphur compounds, resulting in an unpleasant odour. Maintaining good oral hygiene and choosing breath-freshening foods like mint, parsley, and citrus fruits can help counteract these effects.

Digestive Issues:

Digestive disorders like acid reflux, gastric reflux, and chronic constipation can contribute to bad breath. In these conditions, stomach acids or gases can travel back up into the oesophagus, resulting in an unpleasant smell. Treating the underlying digestive issue, making dietary changes, and seeking medical advice can help alleviate bad breath caused by digestive problems.


Certain medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and some heart medications, can contribute to dry mouth, reducing saliva flow and leading to bad breath. Consulting with a healthcare professional about alternative medications or using saliva substitutes may help manage this side effect.

Tobacco and Alcohol Use:

Smoking and alcohol consumption can have a significant impact on breath odour. Tobacco products leave a distinct smell and contribute to dry mouth, while alcohol can dehydrate the body and reduce saliva production. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can improve breath odour and overall oral health.

Final Thought

While maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for fresh breath, it’s crucial to recognize that bad breath can have underlying causes beyond simple neglect. By addressing factors such as dry mouth, sinus infections, dietary choices, digestive issues, medications, and tobacco or alcohol use, individuals can combat bad breath effectively. Remember, if persistent bad breath persists despite oral hygiene efforts, it is advisable to consult a dentist or healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment.