Beating Chronic Bad Breath | Causes & Solutions for Halitosis

How to Treat Chronic Bad Breath

Do people back away when you are speaking? Does a green haze drift from your mouth after sleeping or eating like in the cartoons? Are you constantly avoiding close-up conversation because you’re embarrassed? It could be halitosis.

Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, doesn’t only come around for morning mouth. You may have developed bad breath for multiple reasons, but don’t worry. Chronic bad breath is more common than you might think, and there are many solutions to help correct halitosis.

Causes of Halitosis

Have you ever wondered what you are doing wrong or simply what causes halitosis? You are brushing twice every day, but it just isn’t working.  

Foods You Eat

Often, something as simple as strong-smelling drinks or foods may be the culprit. Coffee, fish, garlic, onions, and spicy food are some of the most common foods that leave lingering odors in your mouth.

  • Coffee and alcohol create an environment just right for bacteria growth. They also dry up saliva and prevents the mouth from cleansing itself. 
  • Garlic and onions have sulfur compounds that linger in your mouth for hours. They even get into your bloodstream and are detectable when you breathe.
  • Tobacco not only causes foul mouth odor, but it also contributes to gum disease, which creates a worse odor. Stay away from tobacco entirely if you want good-smelling breath.
  • Dairy milk and cheese has amino acids that feed bacteria already in your mouth to create a foul smell. 
  • Canned tuna, which we can all say isn’t the best smell for a mouth to begin with, oxidizes in the can to create far worse smells than fresh fish.
  • Horseradish has a chemical compound called isothiocyanate that gives food a unique flavor and your mouth a nasty one. 

Food Left Over

Any food particles left in your mouth can lead to bad breath. Pair that with an inconsistent or lazy dental routine, and you may end up with gum disease or periodontal disease. An unclean mouth encourages the growth of bacteria and plaque, which does not smell good. The tongue can trap bacterias that cause odors, and not everyone thinks to brush their tongue. 

Bacteria Build Up

When plaque builds up on teeth, it can irritate the gums. Over time, pockets form between your teeth and gums that house even more bacteria. If you’re experiencing dental issues caused by plaque or bacteria build-up, such as gum disease or cavities, halitosis may soon follow if it hasn’t already.


Are you a smoker? In addition to being carcinogenic, cigarettes aid in bad breath and bacteria growth in the mouth. Smoking is a sure-fire way to have bad breath.


Your medications could also be to blame! Many, like antidepressants, create a dry mouth environment that you now know causes bacteria growth and foul odors. Other medications may make get into your blood and create a smell in your bloodstream that is released when you exhale.


Most importantly, halitosis may reveal to your dentist that you may have a sinus infection or pneumonia, or even kidney or liver issues! If you have recently had a tooth removed or other oral surgery, you may have temporary halitosis.

Prevention and Treatment & Solution For Halitosis

Gum, mints, and mouth sprays can cover passing bad breath, but they can’t fully cover up the lasting effects of something chronic like halitosis. Regardless, bad breath can be simple to treat, as well as rather preventable in some cases.

  • Get on your dental hygiene game – brush, floss, and scrape your tongue at least twice a day. Also, go in for any needed dental work.
  • Quit using tobacco, it’s terrible for your mouth.
  • Keep your mouth moist. Drink lots of water throughout the day, and skip the coffee and alcohol (we know you won’t, but if you make sure to keep up with oral health routines after drinking coffee, smoking, or drinking alcohol, you will have better smelling breath)
  • Cut back on fatty and highly acidic foods. Dairy products tend to be a culprit. Maybe even log your food to see what is triggering your bad breath.
  • Are you on antidepressants, blood pressure meds, or even certain antihistamines and pain relievers? These can dry your mouth out and aid in bad breath. Talk to your doctor about possibly switching meds.

An astonishing percentage of people have some level of gum disease or gingivitis. Gum disease is one of the leading culprits behind halitosis. If you haven’t been to your dentist in a while, and suffer from chronic bad breath, ask for testing to see if you will need medication to correct your bad breath.

Your dentist will be able to help you discover what may be causing your bad breath, as well as layout your treatment options for eliminating halitosis. 

Have any questions or curious about the state of your oral health? Request an appointment with us quickly and easily using our online form, or feel free to give us a call! It is our mission to ensure every patient has “a smile to build a future on.”