Bad breath symptoms and how to prevent bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis is a common problem: it affects 1 in 7 people. This does not seem so because it is rarely talked about. There is quite a taboo on this topic. People do not easily address each other when someone has a bad smelling mouth odour. About 15% of the population has chronic bad breath and about half has it regularlyFortunately, bad breath can now be treated and prevented.

Cause of bad breath

Bad breath can have various causes. However, bacteria on the back of the tongue, gums and inflammation around teeth and implants are usually the main cause. This is because bacteria produce sulfur and this causes an unpleasant odour. Very occasionally, another cause plays a role. Consider, for example, an inflammation of the nasal or forehead cavity or the emergence of gases due to insufficient closure of the stomach. Conditions such as diabetes can also cause bad breath. Other names for bad breath are halitosis or fetor ex ore.

The most common causes of bad breath:

  • dryness of the mouth (medication *)
  • insufficient oral hygiene
  • tooth decay
  • gingivitis
  • attack on the tongue
  • inflammation of the tonsils or tonsil stones
  • eating certain foods regularly.

Smelly breath symptoms

The first sign of bad breath is often a bad taste in your mouth. A white-yellowish film consisting of food residues and bacteria on your tongue and inflamed gums can cause this bad taste. Of course, your immediate environment can also give signals, but from a social point of view this will not happen quickly. This is unfortunate because only when bad breath is detected, the cause can be traced and treatment can be started.

Bad breath consequences

Less fresh breath can have major consequences, especially on a personal level. Shame, insecurity and isolation can occur. By optimizing oral hygiene and tackling problems in the mouth, a lot of suffering can be prevented.

Tips for bad breath:

  • Inflammations in the teeth and molars can be detected and treated by a dentist or dental hygienist.
  • Oral hygiene should be optimized, tooth decay should be addressed and any defective restorations should be updated or replaced.
  • Drink a glass of water immediately after getting up in the morning. This puts a kind of ‘water seal’ on the stomach.
  • Stop smoking
  • Referral to a specialist. When the cause is not in you. oral cavity, your doctor can refer you to an ENT or MDL doctor. There are also dentists and hospitals that have a special halitosis consultation hour (a consultation hour for people who have bad breath).
  • Use (sugar-free) candies, a fresh mouth spray or chewing gum with xylitol for fresh breath. This can temporarily help to reduce the symptoms.

How to prevent bad breath 

Good Mondhygiëne prevents many problems. Likewise, bad breath. Make sure you brush well and rinse regularly with mouthwash. Doctors recommend the mouth spray based on active oxygen as a supplement.


Medication plays a major role when someone has a dry mouth. Many types of medication reduce the functioning of the salivary gland and dry out the oral mucosa.

Check your medication regularly with an expert and reduce it where possible. In consultation with the doctor, it may be decided to take the medication in the morning instead of in the evening. Having a dry mouth at night is more harmful to teeth and oral tissues than during the day. Add products with Xylitol. Xylitol is, among other things, a humectant that helps prevent dry mouth.


In addition to poor oral hygiene, smoking and inflammation, nutrition also plays an important role. Spicy products such as pepper, onion and garlic, products high in acid and too low a moisture intake can contribute to a less pleasant smell. Food intolerances also play a role in the development of bad-smelling breath (think of gluten and lactose).

Tips against halitosis

  • Drink at least 1.5 litres of water per day
  • Eat lots of vegetables to “de-acidify” your body
  • Avoid using spicy herbs and spices
  • Eat high-fibre to aid your digestion
  • Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine (both cause a fluid deficiency)
  • Drink 2 cups of fresh ginger or mint tea daily to neutralize odours more quickly

Rosie Harman

Rosie Harman is a senior content strategist at Visi One Click, specializing in Technology. She holds a Master's in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington and has spent the majority of her career working in tech giants in Texas. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her blog.

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