Breath with odour can originate from the mouth and gums, or occur because of an underlying health problem. Medically, it may be refereed to as halitosis.
Poor dental hygiene
Untreated dental caries
Bacteria in the mouth
Trapped food in the mouth
Chronic dry mouth
Periodontal (gum) disease
Bloodborne halitosis: in which compounds in the bloodstream are carried to the lungs, then diffused across the membrane in the lungs to enter the breath.
Poor digestive health
Control sulphur: Routinely use toothpaste or mouthwash containing zinc compounds to help break down odour-causing sulphur chemicals [iv].
Keep an eye on gum health: Brush and floss regularly to keep gums free of food debris.
Scrub the tongue: Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper regularly to remove odour-causing substances and keep bacteria in check.
Sugar: Focus on eating a balanced diet including foods with high protein and fibre content. Sugar-containing food can cause bacteria to thrive and increase in the mouth. So try to reduce sugar-rich food to improve the breath odour.
Alkalising foods: The consumption of alkalising foods such as raw apples, mint, parsley, and spinach can increase enzyme activities in the body, and naturally deodorise bad bacteria in the mouth [iii].
[i] Torsten M, et al. (2017). Drug-related oral malodour (halitosis): a literature review. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2017; 21: 4930-4934.
[ii] Zanetti, F. Zivkovic Semren, Tanja. Battey James, N. D. et al. (2021) A Literature Review and Framework Proposal for Halitosis Assessment in Cigarette Smokers and Alternative Nicotine-Delivery Products Users. Frontiers in Oral Health. 2.2673-4842.
[iii] Madhushankari, G. S. Yamunadevi, A. Selvamani, M. et al. (2015) ‘Halitosis - An overview: Part-I - Classification, etiology, and pathophysiology of halitosis’. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 7(Suppl 2), S339–S343
[iv] Erovic Ademovski, S. Mårtensson, C. Persson, G.R. et al. (2017) ‘The long-term effect of a zinc acetate and chlorhexidine diacetate containing mouth rinse on intra-oral halitosis-A randomized clinical trial’. J Clin Periodontol. 44(10):1010-1019.
[v] Munch, R. & Barringer, S.A. (2014) ‘Deodorization of Garlic Breath Volatiles by Food and Food Components’. Journal of Food Science, 79: C526-C533.
[vi] Lee JS, Kwon KA, Jung HS, et al. (2009) ‘Korea red ginseng on Helicobacter pylori-induced halitosis: newer therapeutic strategy and a plausible mechanism’. Digestion. 80(3):192-9.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.