Bad breath is a common but uncomfortable condition that can have several causes, including lifestyle factors, plaque bacteria, or an underlying illness.1

Read on to find out what can cause bad breath, how to tackle it, and how Corsodyl products can help freshen your breath in our guide below.

What is Halitosis?

“Halitosis” is medical terminology for bad breath. All of us have had it at some point – such as after eating smelly food like garlic bread2 – and it can usually be tackled by keeping your teeth, tongue and mouth clean and chewing sugar-free mint gum after eating strong-smelling food1.

If you still have bad-smelling breath despite having a good oral hygiene routine, there’s a chance there is an underlying oral hygiene issue that needs to be addressed. Book an appointment with your dentist to investigate the cause of your bad breath.2

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a sign of a medical condition, needing a stronger oral health routine or simply lifestyle factors.3

If you suspect (or have been told) you have bad breath, it could be caused by:1,3,5

  • Eating strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic, or something spicy
  • Food particles breaking down in your mouth, leading to bacteria growth. This causes plaque formation, which can contribute to bad odours and bad breath if not properly brushed away each day. Not removing plaque build-up can lead to gum disease, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This creates “pockets” between the teeth and gums that can fill with plaque bacteria, causing bad breath and other oral health problems
  • Smoking
  • Ill-fitting dentures, or not cleaning dentures properly or often enough
  • Dry mouth, a condition where saliva production decreases. Saliva helps cleanse the mouth and remove particles that can cause bad breath
  • Infections like sinusitis or mouth sores
  • Tooth decay or cavities
  • Tonsilitis or tonsil stones
  • Acid reflux or GORD/GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Surgical wounds in the mouth after oral surgery

How to Tackle of Bad Breath

Addressing bad breath depends on what’s causing it. If your bad breath is due to poor oral hygiene, tackling it may be as simple as brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every day, or going to the dentist for a professional teeth and gum cleaning procedure.2

If the cause is an underlying oral health issue like cavities, gum disease or poorly fitted dentures, your dentist can recommend treatments, fillings or new dentures that may also address the bad breath.4

If your dentist can’t see an obvious oral cause, they may refer you to a doctor to check for other conditions.4 Other bad breath causes that may need medical treatment include nose and throat infections, bronchitis, liver and kidney problems, and diabetes.5

How to Avoid Bad Breath

The best prevention for halitosis or bad breath is an effective oral hygiene routine, which should include:1

  • Brushing your teeth and gums gently twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste like one from the Corsodyl toothpaste range
  • Cleaning your tongue each day with a tongue scraper or cleaner
  • Cleaning between teeth each day with dental floss or interdental brushes
  • Seeing your dentist regularly
  • If you have them, keeping dentures clean and removing them at night.

Other ways to keep bad breath at bay are:1,6

  • Chewing sugar-free gum or having a breath mint after eating or drinking anything with a strong smell
  • Quitting smoking if you smoke
  • Avoiding having too much sugar in your diet, as sugar is a major cause of cavities and tooth decay.

How Corsodyl Can Help with Halitosis & Bad Breath

If the cause of your bad breath is needing a strong oral care routine to remove plaque bacteria, Corsodyl can help. Our Gum+ Breath & Sensitivity and Gum+ Breath & Sensitivity Whitening toothpastes are scientifically proven to target gum problems and bad breath by helping to neutralise the bacteria that causes it. You can also use a minty mouthwash like Corsodyl Daily Mouthwash in Fresh Mint to freshen breath and help fight bad-smelling plaque bacteria in your mouth.

Book an appointment with your dentist if you’re worried about bad breath.


  1. NHS. Bad breath. Accessed 24/11/2022.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Bad Breath (Halitosis). Accessed 24/11/2022.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Bad breath. Accessed 24/11/2022.
  4. Dentaly. Halitosis/Bad Breath: What Causes Bad Breath and How to Get Rid of It. Accessed 24/11/2022.
  5. Oral Health Foundation. Bad Breath. Accessed 24/11/2022.
  6. WHO. Sugars and dental caries. Accessed 24/11/2022.


Find out how to help protect your gums from gum disease and the importance of regular dental checkups.