December 22, 2023

Oral health: Origin of halitosis and treatments for bad breath

Oral health: Origin of halitosis and treatments for bad breath - Sustainable Tomorrow

Do you have bad breath problems? Don't feel alone anymore! And yes, 60% of people say they have already had halitosis (this is the official name for this oral health case).

Originally, your dentist will tell you, we can speak of bad breath - or halitosis - when the air that we exhale through the mouth and nose gives off an unpleasant odor, bothersome to oneself and for others.

You should know that bad breath is due to the development of bacteria on the tongue and in the mouth. Their multiplication gives a bitter or harsh taste to food and ends up generating these nauseating odors.

So that you no longer need to carry your mint lozenges or chewing gum everywhere you go, Sustainable tomorrow tells you more about the causes of bad breath, and how to fight against this phenomenon...

What causes halitosis?

There are different factors that can cause bad breath:

Oral diseases (gum conditions, canker sores and other oral health concerns)

Caused by the multiplication of bacteria contained in dental plaque, foul breath can be a sign of gum problems. Indeed, poor plaque removal can lead to inflammation or bleeding of the gums (gingivitis).

Do not hesitate to consult your dentist to find the right treatment, as these symptoms can lead to more serious problems if care is not provided.

Poor oral hygiene (not brushing your teeth enough for example) 

Plaque is constantly forming on the surface of your teeth and in the spaces between your teeth. This substance is made up of thousands of bacteria from the mouth and leftover food. When these organisms break down these food residues, a smelly gas is released, a gas that causes the unpleasant scent on your breath.

Thus, one of the major solutions against bad breath is the elimination of dental plaque through daily tooth brushing. Dentists recommends brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day, for 2 minutes.

The majority of dentists also recommend the use of an electric toothbrush with sonic technology, which is very effective for cleaning teeth and much gentler on your gums (especially if you have sensitive gums).

Sustainable tomorrow sonic electric toothbrushes also offer an integrated 2-minute timer (with a small pause every 30 seconds) allowing you to respect the optimal duration of toothbrushing, and are equipped with flexible soft nylon bristles so that they do not not damage your gums or your dental enamel. 

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To put all the chances on your side, use a mint-scented toothpaste. You can also turn to toothpastes specially designed to help remove plaque, or to soothe irritated gums.

Complete your care with the use of a mouthwash (mint for example) which will help restore freshness to your breath.

Bad daily habits such as smoking

Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco... You name it! This habits does not help at all to maintain the freshness of your breath.

In addition, this harmful habit can create dark spots on tooth enamel, and lead to a host of problems in your mouth and on your tongue (gum problems, yellowing of the enamel, accelerated development of plaque and tartar, alteration of taste buds, white tongue , etc.).

So, if you smoke, try to reduce your tobacco consumption as much as possible, and focus even more on providing adequate care to your mouth! 

The foods you eat and what you drink (alcohol, coffee, garlic...) 

This rule is one of the essential measures if you want to avoid halitosis. You need to stay away from dishes that are too spicy or ingredients that smell strong (garlic, onions, chili pepper, parsley, chives) on a daily basis.

Still treat yourself if you're a fan of aioli, but it's better to avoid eating it before your important meetings. 

Consuming alcohol or coffee can also (temporarily) impact the smell of your breath .

Dietary restrictions or a drastic diet

Whether you're embarking on a fast or strict diet, or simply eating a diet that's too low in carbs to begin with, you're likely to have unpleasant breath given that these practices induce weight loss by breaking down fats, producing chemical compounds called ketones.

These components thus produced are released in your breath and are the causes of its bad odor. This type of halitosis can only be resolved by adapting your diet, slightly increasing the proportion of carbohydrates, and above all by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help limit the extent of the damage (2.5L of water per day, remember).

How do you know if you have bad breath?

Here is a quick and simple test , to carry out on yourself in just 10 seconds. The necessary utensils? One cup, and that’s it!

Take a cup.
Place it between your mouth and your nose.
Exhale through your mouth.
If you smell an unpleasant odor, you probably have bad breath.

But do not panic! There are solutions to counter this.

What are the solutions to combat breath problems?


To avoid bad breath, it is important to hydrate yourself sufficiently throughout the day and during meals, to maintain a good level of humidity in your mouth, and avoid dry mouth ( xerostomia to use the medical term), which can give rise to an unpleasant odor at night, we produce less saliva and breathe more through the mouth, which can cause the mouth to dry out and therefore generate a foul odor when we wake up.

Furthermore, acidity in the stomach is also higher during sleep. This acidity can rise into the mouth, which also promotes bad breath. In addition, surprisingly, stress can aggravate many mouth aches, and the emotions felt the day before can alter our breathing while we sleep and therefore, our breath when we wake up.

This is why it is important to hydrate well before going to bed in order to avoid these problems, by drinking herbal tea or a large glass of water. If you wake up during the night, don't hesitate to drink some water again to maintain your hydration level. 

Chew gum 

Saliva helps eliminate odors in the mouth and ensure humidification of the oral cavity and tongue. To increase saliva production, chewing is a good solution. Choose chewing gum or scented lozenges to help mask unpleasant odors. 

Drink lemon juice 

As we have said, bad breath is most of the time due to the presence and excessive proliferation of bacteria in the mouth. This is why drinking lemon juice can be very effective in reducing it.

Eating citrus fruits in general (oranges, lemons , etc.) is very useful against odors, because they contain a large amount of vitamin C. This essential vitamin helps eliminate the famous bacteria that make your life difficult and find fresh breath! 

Lemon is also a food rich in fiber and minerals, and with its citric acid content, it helps destroy bacteria even better and get rid of bad breath more effectively and quickly.

Use mouthwash and dental floss 

In terms of oral hygiene, if everyone agrees that brushing your teeth daily and thoroughly is essential, it can be very useful to add certain products to your routine in order to perfect the cleaning. Using a mouthwash (often mint) and dental floss are very good ways to avoid bad breath. 

The objective of these two products is to remove all food debris that may have escaped when brushing your teeth (in the inter-dental spaces in particular) and to eliminate as many bacteria as possible at the same time. Mouthwashes and dental floss or interdental brushes also help prevent gum or tooth problems, and considerably improve your oral hygiene. Be careful, however, not to overuse the mouthwash. 

Learn about the correct way to use interdental brushes beforehand.

Indeed, unlike brushing your teeth and using dental floss which must be done daily, mouthwashes should only be used once or twice a week maximum. Otherwise, because there may be a risk of alteration of the oral flora.

If necessary, use a tongue cleaner 

Countless bacteria are present on the tongue. This muscle being all hollow and folded, the nooks and crannies where they can nestle are very numerous. To complete the complete cleaning of your mouth, thus avoiding the proliferation of bacteria on your tongue, and thus bad breath, you should not forget to provide adequate hygiene care to this area. 

This involves removing the whitish film present on your tongue, which is a sign of bacterial proliferation.

To do this, you can brush your tongue using the back of your toothbrush (if it has a scraper) or a tongue scraper (which can be found at a pharmacy) to clean the tongue. Brushing here must be done from back to front to properly remove the lingual coating and all the bacteria it contains.

Think about essential oils

For those who prefer more natural remedies, essential oils are a good alternative. We will take care to choose purifying essential oils of peppermint, tea tree or cardamom, to freshen the breath.

How to use them?

  • Once or twice during the day or after a meal to freshen your breath, place one drop of peppermint essential oil on a piece of sugar and let it melt in the mouth (don't do it too often, we'll never tell you enough to go easy on the sugar).
  • When brushing your teeth , add one drop of tea tree essential oil to the toothbrush, in addition to your usual toothpaste: it will regulate the multiplication of bacteria and purify your breath. 🌬

Concluding thoughts

And there you have it, you are now better informed to fight against this unpleasant phenomenon and take care of your oral health! However, don't forget that it is still necessary to visit your dentist regularly (at least once a year, even if you have good breath!).

If, despite all these measures, nothing helps and halitosis persists, it is possible that it has another origin (digestive, coming from the stomach or intestines for example). You should therefore not hesitate to consult your dentist or doctor to seek advice. 

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