Bad breath (halitosis)

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While we’ve all experienced bad breath (or halitosis to give it its medical name) at some point, for some people, it can be a chronic condition that can be very embarrassing.

Skip to: Causes - Treatment

There can be a range of causes and what’s behind your halitosis is likely to be influenced by a range of lifestyle factors.

If you’re experiencing regular bouts of bad breath and want effective, professional advice - speak to a doctor online now.

Our GPs can discuss your symptoms, diagnose the cause of your bad breath and if needed, prescribe medication or refer you on to a specialist for the next stage of treatment.

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causes of bad breath

What causes halitosis?

Bad breath can be caused by a range of factors, but in most cases, it’s down to problems with oral hygiene. If bacteria are allowed to multiply inside your mouth, they can produce foul-smelling toxins as they feed on food particles.

While eating strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic can cause temporary bouts of halitosis, lifestyle factors like drinking alcohol and smoking can also contribute to the condition in the long term.

Bad breath may also set in after you’ve suffered an infection or illness and can even be caused by certain types of medication used to treat various conditions.

Your saliva contains substances that keep bacteria in check, so conditions or medication that cause a dry mouth can let them grow out of control, leading to bad breath.

People suffering from long-term sinus problems like rhinitis can also be at risk of developing bad breath due to an excess of mucus leaking from the sinuses and coating the tongue.

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Treating bad breath

Fortunately, bad breath tends to be temporary, but there are a range of ways to combat it.

Taking steps to address any problems with oral health is a good first step and you should ensure you’re brushing at least twice daily, flossing daily and regularly brushing your tongue to eliminate bacteria and the food particles they feed on.

If you think there might be an underlying medical cause, or aren’t sure, it’s recommended that you speak to a GP.

Our doctors can talk through your symptoms, diagnose possible causes and recommend treatment options or refer you on to a specialist to get the treatment you need to clear up your bad breath once and for all.

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