Bad breath is a common problem that can affect anyone at any age.

About one in four people are thought to havebad breath (halitosis) on a regular basis.

What causes bad breath?

There are a number of things that can cause bad breath. It's usually the result of poor oral hygiene. If bacteria build up in yourmouth, the toxins produced can cause your breath to smell.

Bacteria break downpieces of food in the mouth, and may release an unpleasant-smelling gas.Any food trapped on your teethparticularly between themis broken down by bacteria, which may cause bad breath.

Persistent bad breathcan sometimes bea sign of Gingivitis and periodontitis . Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as onions and garlic, can also cause your breath to smell, as can smoking and drinking alcohol .

Occasionally,bad breath canoccurafter an infection or illness, or as a result oftaking certain types of medication.

To improve your oral health, make sure you:

  • floss between your teeth daily
  • brush your teeth and gumsregularly
  • clean your tongue regularly


When to seek medical advice

See your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapistfirst ifyou still have bad breath aftermaking changes to improve your dental hygiene.

You may also need to visit your GPas there may be a medical cause that needs to be investigated.

Don't try to hide the smell of your breath when seeking medical adviceas it may make it more difficult to find out what's causing the problem.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 4 Jan 2017