Why Does Bad Breath Occur in Humans?

Bad breath is one of those problems that effects more than just the person who has it. It also makes it unpleasant for others who have contact with that person. Halitosis (bad breath) is still researched to discover all the reasons that it occurs.


bad-breath-problemsResearch into this odoriferous issue has increased over the years. One thing that the research shows is that a high percentage of the cases of halitosis result from the oral cavity. This is one reason the proper oral hygiene is important for you to perform. Other causes range from nasal problems to metabolic disorders. With odors in the oral cavity, the cause is the rotting of microbial particles.

The scientists though do not know whether only one particular bacteria, is responsible for causing bad breath or if a number of species could be involved. It could also vary from person to person on this fact. In a laboratory, the only way to test odor is by using anaerobic conditions. No results exist yet on the fact of bacteria being actually obligate anaerobes. In addition to this fact, no evidence points to just one species of bacteria to produce the odor or if a number of species together produce the odor.

Back of the Tongue

Most researchers agree that the back of the tongue produces a high degree of halitosis. Other areas of the mouth can contribute as well such as dental plaque, gum disease and inflamed areas. The back of the tongue produces a different odor that the dental and gum areas do. It is not known if there is different bacteria growing in the various areas or what other reason there could be for the difference in odors. No obvious link exists between the characteristics of a person’s tongue and the type of breath odor he or she has as of now to the scientists.

Halitosis Classifications

Halitosis classifications involve its causes. Both local and systemic causes exist in both pathological and non-pathological reasons for bad breath. Certain medications also cause the breath to have an unpleasant odor along with dry mouth (xerostomia). Read on to find out more about these classifications:

  • Non-pathological local causes include decreased saliva during the night creating what is called morning breath the next day, this can occur in kids and adults. This causes a build-up of various things in the mouth from skin cells to food debris. People having certain dental treatments such as root canal could also suffer from bad breath under this category.
  • Pathological local causes include improper oral hygiene, gum diseases, dry socket, smoking, rhinitis, sinusitis and more. Many of these reasons are cured by either a trip to the dentist or better home care.
  • Non-pathological systemic causes involve the lungs expelling the waste byproducts of certain substance such as alcohol, garlic, meat and so on. Additionally, when people do not eat enough they can get hunger breath from the pancreatic juices rotting in the stomach.
  • pathological-systemic-causes-of-bad-breathPathological systemic causes include diabetes, uremia, kidney failure, hepatic failure, rheumatic fever, certain lung disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, haemorrhage, toxaemia, vitamin C deficiency and indigestion. Each will have its own distinct odor.
  • Dry mouth or xerostomia causes halitosis. This is a decrease of saliva flow. One task that the saliva does is cleansing the mouth.
  • Certain drugs cause bad breath. These can range from diuretics to antineoplasic drugs. Some will cause dry mouth, which by itself brings on an unpleasant odor to the breath.