Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.



Virtually everyone has his/her definition of bad breath. But bad breath may not be what you feel it is. Bad Breath is a medical challenge whereby an individual observes a never-ending smelly gaseous release from the breath. Bad breath is a situation where an individual experiences a foul-smelling breath. It is a common situation whereby individuals witness a never-ending smelly breath from either his mouth or his nostrils.

There are two sides of bad breaths you must understand; the first part has to do with just normal mouth odor and there’s the other part that has to do with chronics bad breath usually called Halitosis.

Difference between Mouth odor and Halitosis.

The first one which is mouth odor has to do with an individual experiencing an unpleasant odor from the breath. This is due to what the individual consumes. This may not be as a result of health issues; it results from what the individual consumes into the mouth. For example, consuming foods like onions, garlic, alcohol and asparagus. This eventually leads to an individual experiencing terrible breath usually for the time being. This does not linger on for a long time, it is mostly short term. It wears off after brushing and gargling.

The second part has to do with chronic bad breath which is called halitosis. This results due to an issue the individual has, no amount of gargling, flossing and brushing may be able to remedy this. This doesn’t result from the mouth; it comes from the internal organs or due to a health issue the individual is facing.


Like every other health issue, bad breath has specific symptoms that are identified with it. The symptoms could be active or passive, overt or covert. Sometimes no two individuals may have the same symptoms, but there are general symptoms people experience in bad breath. The following are symptoms of bad breath;

  • Dry Mouth.

If you’re currently experiencing bad breath, you often find your mouth dry. This could as a result of bad breath. The bacterias that cause bad breath often work on the mouth to shorten the content of saliva, thereby causing the mouth to be dry. The saliva helps to keep the mouth moist and there is an amount of saliva that should be in your mouth. When there is a shortage of that saliva; the mouth becomes dry you begin to observe that salivating then becomes an issue. Not long after this, the mouth starts producing an unpleasant smell. Alcohol, smoking and coffee intake are largely responsible for dry mouth. Read further I will explain.

  • Sour Mouth.

Do you notice that when you take in certain foods, you find out that your mouth starts producing a stale taste? This is known as soured mouth. Does this mean you are not advised to consume certain foods? You can consume any food of your choice as long as it is not in contradiction to your medical issue if any. The thing is, after consuming any food that gives your mouth a soured taste, it is advisable to brush your teeth and tongue immediately. This way, the chances of you developing bad breath from this becomes slim. Most people develop bad breath because they do not watch what they consume and also they do not put in precautionary measures after.

When you have soured mouth always, just know that you have bad breath. The soured mouth is also caused by bacterias. It is also caused by poor mouth hygiene, not being able to brush the tongue and the teeth effectively. There are stipulated methods of washing the teeth and tongue, read further I will expose those methods to you.

  • Bitter Taste.

This is not general, it affects just a few persons who claim to have bad breath or halitosis. The individuals who experience this usually observes a bitter taste in the mouth when this comes, the breath takes a different smell.

  • Metallic taste.

This usually occurs in people that are into low-carb diets, fasting and ketosis. Those who are on a ketogenic weight loss often experience this. The tongue begins to produce a taste that is synonymous with licking a metal. The taste here in the mouth is very different from that of a soured mouth. On certain occasions the mouth produces this taste on its own.

Dental plaques are sticky films that buildup around the teeth. They are also yellowish, soft buildups around the teeth which have been proven to contain millions of bacteria. They grow on the surface of the teeth and have been known to cause tooth decay and gum diseases.

If you have lots of buildups around your teeth this is one of the reasons why you have bad breath. This buildup contains mass bacterias that are harmful not just to your breath but also to your mouth.

  • Tongue Coating.

Tongue coating differs in individuals; some individuals may have a white coating on the tongue while others may be a black coating. They are all tongue coating. The tongue coating has been studied to shield millions of bacterias in the tongue. This is why no matter how, much you brush your tongue, bad breath lingers on.

The bacterias which cause bad breath resides in the coating, especially the coating at the back of the tongue. There are ways to repel this, read further I will expose them.

  • Postnasal Drip.

Not everyone experiences this. Postnasal drip is an excess amount of mucus that tends to accumulate and drip down the back of the nose and also the throat. This happens when an individual catches a viral infection of the throat and nose.


Diagnosing halitosis or bad breath is not such a difficult task. You can perform diagnosis yourself, there are methods to self diagnose bad breath. They are;

  • Put your hands in between your nose and mouth and puff out a little air, sniff it in to know whether or not your breath stinks.
  • Puff out a little air from your mouth in the direction of your nose then sniff it in. If the breath is odorless, then you are bad breath free. But if you perceive this odor a couple of times from that day; you can be sure that you have bad breath.
  • Puff out a little breath from your mouth into a container cover it and place it in your nose, smell it and know whether it stinks or not.

The above methods are ways to self diagnose yourself of halitosis or bad breath. There are medical tools or instruments the dentist can use to check whether or not you have bad breaths and determine the possible solutions. The instruments are;

  • Halimeter.

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.

The halimeter is an instrument introduced in the 70s for the measurement of the level of volatile sulfur compounds. The instrument measures parts per billion levels of hydrogen sulfide and to some extent, methyl mercaptan, two gases which were previously shown to be associated with bad breath using a gas chromatograph. The basic job of the halimeter is to detect low levels of sulfur. It helps to measure bad breath in a quantifiable way.

The instrument is a small box-shaped with a sensor that sits close to the mouth. There are smaller and portable once available for purchase and home use.

Pros and cons of halimeter.


  • It helps measure bad breath in a quantifiable way.
  • It is small and portable.
  • They can be used at home.


  • The concentration of methyl mercaptan recorded by the Halimeter is low compared to those assessed by the oral chroma.
  • Some people regard it as an old fashion.


Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.
An OralChroma.

The oralchroma is an advanced halitosis measuring device that allows dentists to assess a patient’s breath to identify potential oral infections and other systematic health risks. It provides a quick and precise analysis of patients breath to diagnose whether or not the patients have halitosis.

Pros and cons of oral chroma


  • The oralChroma gives a precise and quick analysis of the patient’s breath.
  • It is more advanced than the halimeter.
  • Oralchromas data management software also allows the easy storage and management of an unlimited amount of patient data, thus enabling treatment progress.


  • If high concentration combustible gases always exist near the device, some consideration should be taken, this is because the device uses ambient air as the carrier gas.


  • BANA test

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.
BANA Test.

The BANA test is used to determine the proteolytic activity of certain oral anaerobes that contributes to bad breath. How it works is that a sample of a patient’s saliva that contains bacterias is placed within the BANA testing compound, thus causing a breakdown of N-benzoyl enzyme. The BANA test is used to identify volatile Sulphur compounds in halitosis patients.

Pros and cons of BANA test


  • It is handy and portable.
  • It can deliver quick results about oral pathogens.


  • Some dentists consider the BANA test as being inaccurate.


  • Gas chromatograph.

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.
Gas Chromatograph

The Gas chromatograph is a chemical analysis instrument used in separating chemicals which are in a complex sample. The gas chromatograph uses a narrow tube known as a column through which various chemical constituents of a sample pass in a gas stream at different rates depending on their various chemical and physical properties and their interaction with a specific column filling. It is used to separate and measure various types of gases.


  • it can analyze even the smallest sample of gas.


  • It is relatively expensive and requires technical know-how.


  • Alcohol.

Too much alcohol intake and consumption is one action that has caused bad breath. It is proven that alcohol dries the saliva in the mouth, making the mouth vulnerable to an unpleasant odor. 9 percent of oral malodor is caused by excess intake of alcohol. Not just any alcohol, spirits; have an adverse effect on the mouth.

  • Poor oral hygiene.

The inability of an individual to brush, floss and gargle effective is what leads to bad breath, halitosis or oral malodor. This action is mostly caused by nonchalance and negligence. Individuals are supposed to know how to take good care of their mouth. The mouth is an important part of any individual, oral malodor has made it difficult for most individuals to communicate with friends and families.

When washing your mouth you must do it with all care and caution. Food particles that reside in the mouth must be repelled effectively due to the fact that they may cause your mouth to get soured, thus leading to bad breath.

When brushing you must floss and brush with the recommended toothpaste effectively. Check here to know how to brush effectively.

  • Certain foods.

Certain foods should be avoided due to the odor they produce. Foods like garlic, onion, asparagus, etc should be avoided, cos they produce an unpleasant odor that would make others find it difficult to communicate with you. Foods are naturally the main causes of bad breath; almost all the health problems result from the foods we consume. Other foods may include fishes, spicy foods and cheese. Some odor maybe for a short time but others may stay longer causing tooth decay and gum diseases.

  • Smoking.

Most people feel that smoking only affects the lungs and kidney of an individual. If you leave close to a habitual smoker you may find out that as a result of the excess consumption of tobacco, his breath begins to stink. It may stink of tobacco or poop.

  • Sore throat.

Sore throat is another reason why most people develop bad breaths. Due to the excruciating pains, most persons feel in their throat they may find it difficult to brush effectively. If this lingers on for days, this will most likely lead to bad breath.

  • Tonsilitis.

Tonsillitis has also widely led to bad breath in some individuals. Tonsillitis is caused by infections such as viruses and bacterias. Tonsils contain Sulphur which causes the breath to stink terribly.

  • Excess intake of beverages.

Beverages such as coffee may have an adverse effect on your breath. What it does is that it may dry the saliva, thus making the mouth dry and giving room for bacterias to cause an unpleasant odor in the mouth.

  • Dry mouth.

When the mouth is dried, it inadvertently leads to bad breath. The mouth is supposed to be moist on a regular basis. This helps to keep your breath odorless.

  • Drugs.

If you are on medications, the chances of you having bad breath are very open. This is because the drugs you consume over a long period of time affect your saliva, thus causing a shortage of saliva in the mouth. As earlier written, dry mouth is one of the causes of oral malodor.


Preventing bad breath is very easy. Parents should learn to apply the following measure to ensure that bad breath is effectively prevented in young ones. Also, adults can also apply the measure to help caution certain habits that may lead to developing bad breath. The following are ways to prevent bad breath;

  • Keep your mouth moist always.

Keeping your mouth moist is one of the preventive measures to apply in order to prevent bad breath or halitosis. While keeping your mouth moist, you can carry a bottle of chilled water along with you when you notice you have consumed a certain food that can cause your mouth to sour or when you are in a meeting and in a long conversation. This can help keep your mouth moist and prevent bad breath in the long run.

  • Use recommended toothpaste.

When trying to prevent bad breath, it is proper to find out which toothpaste is recommended by the dental association of the country in which you reside. There are popular kinds of toothpaste, such as;

1. Colgate

2. Sensodyne

3. Longrich

4. Closeup etc.

They are internationally recognized kinds of toothpaste that helps fight against bad breath.

  • Brush daily.

This is the most important part of preventing bad breath or halitosis. When you neglect to brush your teeth daily, you are indirectly inviting mouth odor. When brushing you must also brush the tongue effectively to repel food particles that have been there for a while.

Watch this video on how to brush your teeth properly.

  • Avoid smoking.

As earlier explained, smoking has an adverse effect not just on your lungs but also on your breath. So it is wise to avoid it.

  • Avoid consuming excess alcohol.

The higher the alcohol, the fatal it is to your health. Too much alcohol affects your breath, please abstain from it.

  • Change your toothbrush.

Changing your toothbrush from time to time can help you prevent bad breath. Most people use one toothbrush for a year which is absolutely wrong. Your toothbrush is not supposed to exceed 3 months of usage. This is because, after a while of using it, it loses its strength to effectively repel food particles from the teeth. Thereby leading to gum diseases or tooth decay.


Visit the dentist.

The first way to provide a cure to bad breath is for you to visit the dentist. The dentist will run a diagnosis in your mouth and procure a possible solution and treatment.

  • Hydrogen peroxide.

Using hydrogen peroxide to cure and remedy bad breath have proven effective over the years. This is because the hydrogen peroxide contains antibacterial substances that when applied on the teeth or tongue can help solve bad breath problems. You can also use it to brush the tongue, not fiercely but with caution to avoid injuries in the mouth, this helps repel tongue coating. There are ways to apply it, check this out.

  • Fennel.

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.

The fennel is a perennial plant that belongs to the carrot family. it has yellow flower flowers and feathery leaves. it was initially known to inhabit the Mediterranean shores but now it is grown in all parts of the world, near sea coasts and river banks.

You can chew a tablespoon of fennel to freshen your breath and stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth. You can also drink fennel tea daily to help produce an odorless breath.

  • Cinnamon.

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.

It is a mid-brown colored spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree spices and it is commonly used mostly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, breakfast cereals, snacks, tea, and traditional food.

You can boil a tablespoon of cinnamon powder in a cup of water and drink daily to help eradicate unpleasant odor from your mouth.

  • Fenugreek.

The Fenugreek is now cultivated worldwide as a semiarid crop. Its seeds and leaves are common ingredients used in preparing dishes in India. Regular consumption of fenugreek has serious medical side effects.

Simply boil a teaspoon of fenugreek seed in a cup of water. Then strain and drink this tea once daily until you get rid of the problem.

  • Cloves.

Bad Breath; Meaning, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Prevention and Remedies.

In Indonesia Cloves and are commonly used as spice. Cloves have been long-used in traditional medicine and there is little evidence that clove oil contains eugenol, which is effective for toothache.

You can easily pop a few pieces of cloves into your mouth and chew thoroughly. This will eliminate bad breath in a short while.

  • Parsley.

You can put parsley leaves through a juicer and sip the juice anytime you need to refresh your breath.

  • Apple cider vinegar.

Just stir one tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink it before eating your meals. This will help cure bad breath.

  • Baking soda.

Brushing your teeth with baking soda will help reduce the acidity of your mouth and prevent bacteria from building up in your tongue. You can also mix a tablespoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water and use it to rinse your mouth.

  • Tea tree oil.

Put a drop of tea tree oil on your toothbrush mixed with your toothpaste and use it to brush properly.

In conclusion.

It is important to have knowledge of the causes, prevention and remedies of bad breath so you can help yourself and others also.


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