What is it?

Bad breath or halitosis is a pathophysiological condition, characterized by the emanation of bad odors, from the oral cavity.
The bad smell is emitted, especially when the patient speaks, but in the most serious cases the bad smell can also be felt from a distance.
It creates social and psychological disadvantages for individuals, and these situations affect individual’s relation with other people.


The causes of bad breath are different, sometimes associated with random states such as the ingestion of particular foods or in more serious cases with pathological conditions.

Bad breath can depend on:

  • Eating foods such as garlic and onion;
  • Bad oral hygiene
  • Decayed or pyorrhea teeth
  • Stomatitis;
  • Gingivitis;
  • Tonsillitis;
  • Dysbiosis;
  • Intense gastric acidity;
  • Poor and slow digestion;
  • Food intolerance;
  • Metabolic acidity;
  • Prolonged fasting;
  • Dehydration of the oral cavity;
  • Smoking adversely affects salivation: long-term smoking reduces the secretion of saliva and changes its quality.
  • Alcohol;
  • Rhinitis;
  • Pharyngitis;
  • Plaques in the throat
  • Lung abscess;
  • Cold;
  • Liver damage, resulting in a rotten fish-like odor, a condition known as ammonia halitosis
  • Antibiotics;
  • Ketoacidosis in diabetics;
  • Kidney failure;
  • Excessive bacterial proliferation in the oral cavity that causes the release of volatile sulfur compounds;
  • Reduction of saliva secretion;
  • Change in the pH of saliva;
  • Bleeding gums;
  • Intestinal parasitosis.

Mouthwashes for halitosis

Mouthwashes for halitosis must contain particular substances such as:

  • Chlorhexidine, triclosan, cetylpyridinium chloride, with antiseptic action.,
  • Menthol and eucalyptol with an antiseptic action;
  • The zinc salts with neutralizing action for volatile sulfur compounds.


Medicines for the treatment of bad breath are prescribed when it is associated with gastrointestinal diseases:

  • In case of gastritis, antacid drugs based on aluminum and magnesium hydroxide or proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole, Pantoprazole and Lansoprazole are prescribed.
  • In case of ulcer, histamine H2 receptor antagonists, such as Cimetidine and Nizatidine, are prescribed.
  • In case of gastroesophageal reflux, Alginates are prescribed, with an anti-reflux action.

Natural remedies

There are different types of plants with antiseptic and preventive action for the development of bad breath:

  • The bitter orange has an antiseptic and flavoring action;
  • Cloves have a disinfectant action;
  • Mint has a refreshing and flavoring action, thanks to the presence of menthol;
  • Eucalyptus has a refreshing and flavoring action, thanks to the presence of eucalyptol;
  • Herbal teas based on fennel and anise have a regulatory action on digestion and saliva secretion.
  • A decoction based on cumin is excellent for fighting bad breath caused by poor digestion;
  • Sage and rosemary have a bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory action, their decoctions are excellent for inflammation of the oral cavity;
  • Celery decoctions have a strong disinfectant action.,
  • Avocado regulates digestion, thus preventing halitosis phenomena associated with poor digestion;
  • Apple cider vinegar regulates digestion and prevents bad breath due to poor digestion;


  • It is important to drink a lot of water, to avoid a dry mouth, being important for cleaning the oral cavity.
  • Brush your teeth at least three times a day;
  • Use a dental floss as an additional cleaning of the teeth;
  • Slow chewing promotes digestion, thus preventing bad breath phenomena from bad digestion;
  • Take chewingum and sugar-free candies, with a balsamic action, with a flavoring and stimulating effect for the secretion of saliva.

Predisposing factors

  • Fasting stimulates the development of halitosis;
  • Alcohol promotes the development of halitosis;
  • Eating quickly leads to poor digestion with probable associated bad breath phenomena;
  • Abundant meals and binges slow down digestion with probable phenomena of associated halitosis.


Diet influences the health of the oral cavity, therefore a healthy and balanced diet prevents the development of halitosis.

  • Vegetables such as celery, fennel, zucchini, lettuce, cucumbers keep the mouth always hydrated.
  • White yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh, are foods with probiotic action, thus preventing associated dysbiosis and halitosis.
  • Avoid condiments such as butter, lard, margarine and lard, because they slow down digestion;
  • Avid drinks or sweets rich in simple sugars, because sugar increases bacterial fermentation;
  • Alcohol and spirits because they have substances that enter the blood, transferred to the lungs and exhaled with breathing;
  • Prefer lean cuts meat  and not smoked;
  • Prefer creamy, soft cheeses rather than harder cheeses;
  • Whole grains with a soothing action on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity;
  • Curry is a spice rich in sulfur, its excessive consumption can cause halitosis;
  • Foods rich in vitamin C such as peppers, turnip greens, citrus fruits, kiwis, grapes, strawberries, lemon, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, prevent the development of periodontal diseases;
  • The carrot is rich in beta-carotene, a substance that prevents the development of inflammation of the gums;
  • Bitter cocoa, free of sugars, has polyphenols that prevent the development of bacteria responsible for bad breath;
  • Green tea neutralizes the odor of volatile sulfur compounds;
  • Pears and apples, thanks to their richness in cellulose, prevent bad breath;
  • Cherries have an antioxidant known as zeaxanthin, which is important in preventing intestinal bloating;
  • Lettuce has an antioxidant, called lutein, which facilitates digestion.