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Halitosis Unveiled: Navigating the World of Halitosis with 5 Food Solutions


Halitosis Meaning

Halitosis is a term used for bad breath or oral malodor. It is considered as an embarrassing and depressing. Halitosis affects around 50-65% population globally. According t epidemiological researches around 2.4% adult population is its victim. In order to fight against halitosis there are numerous products available in shape of gums, mouth washes and mints. But, halitosis needs permanent solution.

Halitosis or bad breath occurs due to multiple reasons. Therefore, if despite standardized oral care, halitosis is not coming slow, then one must visit dentist to screen out root cause of it. Research conducted by National Institute of Dental Research revealed that approximately 65 million people in US confronts with halitosis in their lives.

Etiologically, halitosis is multifaceted in nature. Around 80-90% of it is due to microbial presence on teeth, tongue and periodontal.

Halitosis Causes

Halitosis happens due to certain reasons out of which the most common causes are as follows:

  • Diet: Certain food items are responsible for bad breath or odor for example intake of onion and garlic cause specific smell in mouth and even after digestion these food items properties cause certain odor in lungs which ultimately results in halitosis.
  • Mouth Dryness: Bad breath can also be due to dryness of mouth. Actually, presence of saliva in mouth keeps the odor away, but if mouth keeps dry then bad breath happens. It might happen due to certain medical issues as well like xerostamia.
  • Tobacco use: The use of tobacco also creates certain smell and furthermore it triggers certain gum diseases as well which leads towards bad breath.
  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Lack of proper dental care may cause certain inflammations which may cause mouth odors. Proper brushing and flossing could remove the food particles in teeth pockets which could not only cause bad smells but can also cause serious gum diseases like periodontitis. The regular removal of plaque from teeth could save the teeth and also helps in removing the mouth smells.
  • Foreign Body Presence: In certain cases halitosis happen due to presence of foreign body in nasal cavities.
  • Medications and Drugs: There are certain medications and drugs which may cause bad breath like drugs used for angina like nitrates. It is owing to the fact that drugs after breakdown release certain chemicals which make the mouth dry and remove saliva which leads towards halitosis. The intake of vitamins also causes bad breath. Certain tranquilizers like phenothiazines and some other chemicals used in chemotherapy also responsible for halitosis.
  • Serious Illnesses: Certain diseases like gastro esophageal reflex disease (GERD), cancers and liver diseases cause halitosis.
  • Fasting and Crash Dietary Plans: Certain low carbohydrate diets and fasting may cause halitosis due to breakdown of fats which may produce chemicals known as ketones. Ketones are having very strong odor and aroma.
  • Infections: The bad breath may happen owing to certain surgical intervention like tooth removal and gum infections.

In addition to above mentioned causes of halitosis, there are some other causes as well which are considered rare but still have potential to cause bad breath.

  • Aspiratory Pneumonia: It happens due to ingestion of food, saliva, liquid or even vomit.
  • Bowel obstructions: The bad breath may also take the odor like feces in case of bowel obstructions problems due to prolonged vomiting.
  • Bronchiectasis: It is a medical pulmonary condition in which airways become really wide than normal, which cause mucus build up which cause halitosis or bad breath.   
  • Ketoacidosis: Ketoacidosis is considered as a life threatening condition. Actually, when in a diabetic patient insulin levels drops down to their minimal levels then body start consuming body fats instead sugar reserve. Due to breakdown of fats ketones produce. They are poisonous in nature and when their proportion increases in larger amounts then it create a very unpleasant odor of breath.

Halitosis Symptoms

 The bad breath or mouth odor depends upon certain conditions and problems. There are various ways to gauge your mouth odor like:

  • Ask your close family member or friend to help you.
  • Or lick your wrist and let it dry. Then try to sniff and smell it. You will personally notice whether you have any sort of bad breath or not.

But in most of the cases, people do not or marginally have bad breath but they become too much concerned about it, it is known as a condition known as halitophobia and it needs to be stop because it may cause obsessive mouth cleansing behaviors.

Halitosis Diagnosis

The dentist should be approached in case of observance of certain mouth odor. A dentist may scrap the back end of the tongue and then smell it. It is the point of maximum disposition of germs and bacteria and cause smell. Dentist will rate the smell on one to six scales and devise precautionary measures.

However, there are some other sophisticated ways to diagnose level of halitosis which are as follows:

  • BANA test: This test shows level of an enzyme which causes bad breath.
  • Halimeter: This way detects the level of sulfur.
  • Gas chromatography: This is a test to measure volatile sulfur compound named as methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Beta galactosidase testing: This test will detect level of beta galactosidase enzyme to screen out correlations with mouth smells.

Halitosis Treatment

Halitosis can be cured through proper oral care. Regular brushing of teeth with proper technique is important. Mouth washes also play inevitable role to get rid of bacteria.

Bad breath has multiple reasons therefore if it is not cured despite intensive oral care then one must screen out the root cause through proper dentist visit.

Home Remedies against Halitosis

Oral hygiene is sole really effective strategy but there are few other home remedies as well which are as follows:

  • Brushing: Proper brushing twice a day is really effective against halitosis. Brushing should be done in a mild way. Too hard brushing may damage dentine which may cause certain teeth and gum diseases.
  • Flossing:  It is worth mentioning that the brushing only covers 60% of teeth. Therefore, it becomes necessary to clean the areas between teeth as well. In order to cover those areas one should employ flossing. Flossing helps in removing food particles inside and between the teeth areas.
  • Drink Water: It is recommended to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily. It not only helps in facilitating the metabolic functions but also helps in maintaining healthy and required levels of saliva which keep the mouth wet and avoid dryness. Mouth dryness may cause halitosis. In case of any chronic disease which limit saliva production in mouth then one should seek advice from dentist and take certain medicine to expedite saliva production to keep dryness away.
  • Limit Use of Certain Food Options: There are certain foods which cause bad breath like garlic, onion, spicy meals, coffee, alcohol etc. These drinks and foods cause bad breath therefore one should limit their intake.
  • Scrap your Tongue: Tongue is a place where bacteria, dead cells and certain food particles stick. Therefore, tongue scrappers should be used or bring tooth brushes which have tongue scrappers at the back of bristles.
  • Cleanliness of Dentures: It is also really important to clean the dentures, mouth guards or any bridges. Actually, cleanliness of everything within mouth is important to avoid bacteria production. One should change tooth brush right after 1-3 months.
  • Fermented Foods: The scientists are of the view that fermented foods like yogurt holds probiotics which are helpful against halitosis.
  • Chewing gums and mouth fresheners are also beneficial in case of mild symptoms of halitosis.

Foods Good against Halitosis

Poor oral hygiene is considered a major contributor towards halitosis however through proper dental hygiene and consumption of certain foods helps in avoiding embarrassments caused by bad breath. One must consume foods which are low in carbohydrates and sugars and high in fibers, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium to avoid bad mouth odors.

The foods which help against halitosis are as follows:

  • Leafy green vegetables: The leafy greens are helpful in maintaining and production of nitrate and nitrites which facilitate in reducing mouth odors. Leafy green are helpful in maintaining healthy oral microbiome. Leafy greens like turnips, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard and kale are extremely effective against halitosis.
  • Grass fed dairy: Grass based fed dairy products naturally contain vitamin k2 which is beneficial for teeth. According to surveys majority of world population is deficient in vitamin k2 which results in dental problems.
  • Fish: Fatty fish is rich source of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids which in collaboration with vitamin A and K2 helps in calcium absorption which is heavily important for teeth. The fishes like tuna, mackerel and salmon are top rated foods.
  • Oranges and Grapefruits: Oranges and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C which is helpful in fighting against infections and also strengthen blood vessels inside the mouth to keep teeth healthy.
  • Cacao nibs: Polyphenol present in cocoa is beneficial against killing bacteria which cause cavities and plaque but added sugars should be avoided. It helps in reducing plaque accumulation on teeth.

When too see dentist?

 One should visit dentist soon after symptoms of halitosis to seek prescription and guidance. Bad breath may happen due to numerous reasons therefore it has paramount importance to avoid those food items which cause it and seek immediate medical attention.

Wrapping Up

Halitosis is a condition in which a person experience stinky odors from one’s mouth. It may be due to certain dietary choices like eating onions, garlic, coffee, tobacco or due to poor dental hygiene.

Proper oral care which includes proper brushing and flossing has paramount importance. Brushing teeth twice a day helps in maintaining healthy oral health.

Halitosis may occur due to certain medicines and even in case of any disease or infection. Therefore, it is need of time to pay a visit to dentist to screen out the issues and seek treatment. Finally, consume healthy food like leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, grass fed dairy products like yogurt and butter to remain healthy.


What is halitosis?

Halitosis is a term used for bad breath or oral malodor

What are halitosis Causes?

Diet, tobacco, mouth dryness, diseases, poor dental hygiene

How to diagnose halitosis?

·         BANA test: This test shows level of an enzyme which causes bad breath.
·         Halimeter: This way detects the level of sulfur.
·         Gas chromatography: This is a test to measure volatile sulfur compound named as methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide and hydrogen sulfide.
·         Beta galactosidase testing: This test will detect level of beta galactosidase enzyme to screen out correlations with mouth smells.

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