What is Bad Breath? What are the Causes and Treatment Methods of Bad Breath?

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Halitosis (bad breath), refers to the unwanted, disturbing bad odor that people notice when you speak or breathe.

What Is Bad Breath?

agiz kokusuBad breath, often causes embarrassment, socio-psychological problems; It may even lead to the termination of the marriage. Although the prevalence of halitosis in the population is not known clearly, it is thought to be a common problem among humans. One of the problems with bad breath is that the only person who does not realize this smell is the person with bad breath. It is usually a comment made by a friend or acquaintance about the smell that allows the person to learn that their mouth stinks, but people prefer not to talk about such matters out of courtesy. Therefore, it is more likely to be voiced by family members or a trusted friend. If bad breath is suspected in any way, first of all, a dentist can be consulted for this situation. Dentists usually have enough information about whether a person’s bad breath is natural or at least oral. It can provide an explanation as to whether tooth or gum disease is responsible for the odor and can assist in diagnosis and treatment. A simple test can be recommended to understand whether the person’s own bad breath is bad; The inside of the wrist or the back of the hand is licked and after waiting a few seconds for the saliva to dry, it can be understood how bad breath is when the licked part is smelled.

What Are The Causes Of Bad Breath?

Studies have shown that halitosis is mostly (85%) caused by a pathology in the mouth. Most of this is caused by tooth and gum problems.

Oral Odor

agiz kokusu nedenleri nelerdir 2The conditions that make up the majority of bad breath complaints are caused by the mouth. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth digesting and breaking down food residues. The following factors help bacteria to spread this odor; Accumulation of food residues between the teeth: Normal tooth brushing cannot completely clean the teeth.​ ​

Small particles of food remain between the teeth. Exposure of small pieces of meat to decay by bacteria contributes to the formation of bad breath. Using dental floss alongside brushing provides the solution to this problem.​ ​

Plaque, calculus, gum diseases: Plaques and tartar are also among the conditions that can cause bad breath. Especially gum diseases cause bad odor in the mouth. These problems can be easily fixed by dentists.​ ​

Coating of the tongue: In some people, the tongue is covered with a layer for an unknown reason. It is thought that bacteria in this layer, which form especially sulfur compounds, also cause bad breath. To fix this problem, the tongue needs to be cleaned mechanically.

Bad Smell in the Morning

Many people have a bad breath when they wake up in the morning. This is normal occurrence.

It occurs as a result of the drying of the mouth during the night and bacterial activities, and the bad breath disappears with the increased saliva in the mouth after breakfast.

Food, Beverage and Medicines

The chemicals in the food mix with the blood and then emit their distinctive odors as they are expelled from the body via the lungs.

Almost everyone can tell by bad breath that anyone has consumed garlic, onions or alcohol. This type of bad breath is temporary and disappears with the discontinuation of the food, drink or drug consumed.

A doctor should be consulted to discontinue or change the medication.


Cigarette smell makes the mouth smell bad. All that needs to be done is to quit smoking. Smoking causes a bad odor in the mouth by causing gum diseases as well as its own smell.

Hunger, Diet and Fasting

The smell of hunger causes the release of fat breakdown products called ketone compounds in the body, which leads to acetone odor in the mouth.​

Stomach Diseases

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Contrary to what many people believe, stomach is one of the rare sources of bad breath. The passage between the stomach and the esophagus is normally closed, preventing the escape of air and fluid from it.

Therefore, there is no smell, except when this place is opened, such as burping. Except for some rare diseases, the stomach does not smell.

These include diverticula in the esophagus, strictures, gastric outlet strictures that make it difficult to empty the stomach, stomach cancer and some types of gastritis.

However, in these diseases, the person will have other complaints that may be much more important than bad breath.

Other Diseases

It is bad breath due to other diseases and these are the rarer causes of bad breath.

These include upper respiratory tract diseases such as sinusitis, ear-nose-throat diseases and lung diseases.

In addition to these, special mouth odors occur that can help in the diagnosis of vital conditions such as liver coma and diabetic ketoacidosis.


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If you believe you have bad breath, first get help from a relative to confirm the existence of this issue. Remember that most people may have bad breath in the morning on an empty stomach.

Most of the causes of bad breath (90%) originate from the mouth, but a small portion (10%) are caused by the digestive and respiratory systems.

Frequent drinking of water by those with dry mouth, not using drugs that can cause dry mouth, avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and smelly foods, chewing cloves and sugarless gum after meals can reduce bad breath.

Maintaining oral hygiene generally provides good results in many cases of halitosis. For adequate oral hygiene, teeth should be brushed 3 times a day after meals and dental floss should be used if necessary.

In addition, it may be useful to clean the back of the tongue once a day using a toothbrush. It is also necessary to have dental caries, calculus and plaque and gum diseases treated by consulting a dentist to get rid of bad breath.

Smokers need to quit smoking. There are those who recommend washing the mouth with antibacterial mouthwashes, but sometimes they can cause damage to the oral mucosa and tongue due to the alcohol they contain.

It can be recommended to be used once a day, before going to bed. Probiotic mouthwashes can be recommended, which allow the growth of bacteria that do not cause odor in the oral flora.

When there is no oral hygiene and dental problem, the upper respiratory tract should be checked by consulting an otolaryngologist, and if there is a problem, it should be treated. If the problem persists despite this, it may be necessary to consult a digestive and respiratory system specialist.

A practical tip: After gargling with half a teacup of lemon juice a few times, eat a few spoons of yogurt that is not too sweet and leave it for 45 minutes. An application in the form of brushing the teeth afterward can cure bad breath for a while.

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