Bad breath: Time to talk about it

Reading time 2 min.

Having bad breath is not inevitable. And nor should it be treated with contempt or by sucking small sugar-loaded tablets. There are several reasons why our mouths produce foul odors.

There are, of course, cases in which the cause of the problem is obvious: the breath of smokers, drinkers and keen snail eaters “speaks” for itself … if one can put it that way.

However, when bad breath is not directly linked to a food or drink issue, and it develops over time, it can be a warning sign of other problems.

Doctors are aware that certain metabolic disorders can give rise to breath that smells like apples. In fact, some pre-diabetics experience breath smelling of acetone, and infection with Helicobacter pylori produces breath that smells of ammonia.


Do not forget to brush and floss your teeth after eating as food particles collected between your teeth develop bacteria, which in turn give off bad smells. Tongue scrapers are also a good way of getting rid of bacteria that collects on the tongue.

Alcohol, onions and garlic are absorbed into your lungs and give off a particular odor until they are eventually eliminated by the body. Other sources of bad breath include, post nasal discharge, sinus infection, some types of allergies (pets) and nasal discharge in the back of your throat.

Saliva, which cleanses and gets rids of dead cells and bacteria in the mouth whilst keeping it moist, is essential in keeping foul smells out of the mouth. And the lack of saliva causes dry mouths, which are a cause of bad morning breaths as the mouth dries up during sleep.

However, a much simpler explanation is that bad breath may be the result of a dental infection or come from food trapped below a tooth. If, despite careful brushing, flossing, tongue scaping, and regular mouth moistening, this problem persists, you should talk to your dentist or possibly your doctor about it.

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