What should I do about bad breath?

10 tips & 10 FAQs against bad breath and for a relaxed exhalation

Bad breath can be combated effectively!

Regular self-test

Perform the self-test regularly (licking the back of your hand, letting the saliva dry for 10 seconds, smelling). On the one hand, you train your self-awareness and can react very quickly if your bad breath is even temporarily unpleasant. This will make you increasingly safer in everyday life.

What is bad breath?

Bad breath = bad smelling breath (gas & sulfur compounds)

Basically, bad breath consists of bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds that are expelled when you breathe out. The breath of every human being smellsi.e. none is odorless. But when one speaks of bad breath or the technical term halitosis or foetor ex ore, it is usually about bad, from other people than unpleasant and disturbing perceived breath odor.

"They stink out of the mouth"

Again and again, those affected do not even know that they have bad breath. Because their social environment avoids the theme or does not find the right way to address the issue of halitosis. But all those affected suffer from bad breath because they are afraid of being avoided by others.

Bad breath is primarily an "Beauty Aspekt "but he can indicator For health problems that are noticeable through breathing air. True to the motto "Healthy starts in the mouth"


Where does bad breath come from?

In 8 out of 10 cases are bacteria in the mouth as the cause of the bad smell responsible. Up to 700 different types of bacteria can be found in a healthy oral cavity.

Some of them, so-called putrefactive bacteria, settle in the spaces between the teeth, in gum pockets, in the pits of the teeth or in the papillae of the tongue. Will these putrefactive bacteria NOT removed regularly, when they decompose, foul-smelling sulfur compounds are formed, which cause the unpleasant breath. These sulfur-producing bacteria prefer to colonize the back of the tongue, and especially the rough rear part. With a look in the mirror you can usually see the tongue coating. Hence the regular Tongue cleaning mostly an effective antidote and also healthy.

Causes / Factors - Bad breath is not a disease - but it can indicate a disease

The following causes or factors influence halitosis:

  • Poor oral hygiene (e.g. plaque, food residue on and between the teeth), in particular due to insufficient tongue cleaning / tongue care, interdental cleaning
  • Bad tooth status (Teeth with caries, remains of roots)
  • Inflammation the Oral mucosa
  • Inflammation of Gums (Stomatitis, gingivitis)
  • Inflammation of Teeth-supporting apparatus (Periodontal disease)
  • Dry mouth (often in speaking jobs or under stress)

The diet or consumption of certain foods (e.g. garlic, coffee) or alcohol or tobacco can also be the cause of bad breath. Bad breath can also occur when fasting or in women before and during their period. Taking medication or supplements can also affect bad breath. But this is mostly temporary and plays a subordinate role in the development of bad breath. This bad breath from the oral cavity is unpleasant in the situation, but not a problem in the long term, because it disappears as quickly as it came.

As mentioned, in 8 out of 10 cases the causes are in the mouth or in the nose / throat area. In most cases, better oral hygiene helps, especially regular cleaning of the tongue and the spaces between the teeth to remove bacterial deposits and food residues. A dentist or a prophylaxis expert can give helpful, individual tips here.

The situation is different, however, when people are chronically or long-term confronted with bad breath. Then it can be a signal from the body that there is a disease outside the oral cavity.

In just under 20% of the cases is the trigger for bad breath metabolic (e.g. disturbance of the intestinal flora, diabetes, heartburn, reflux disease) or it is caused by some kidney, liver or respiratory diseases. In these cases it is necessary to clarify the cause. Be sure to talk to your dentist or the doctor you trust.

How do I find out for myself if I have bad breath?

The easiest ask You one Person you trust and trust their nose. Another easy way to tell if you have bad breath is to do this Bad breath testusing feedback from your own nose. To do this, lick the back of your hand with your tongue, let the saliva dry for 10 seconds and then smell the back of your hand. If you now notice an unpleasant smell, you should deal with the subject of bad breath.

If you are unsure, you can also use small breathing devices with which the sulfur content of the exhaled air can be determined. If you want to be on the safe side, you can have a precise measurement or gas chromatography carried out using a Halimeter or sulfur monitor. An exact measurement of the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds takes place. Other options for the odor test are tongue swabs and plaque samples.

Basically, bad breath is nothing unnatural. Everyone has a temporary unpleasant smell of breath in the morning (due to low saliva flow during sleep) or, for example, in the course of a cold or cold (severe drying of the oral mucosa due to obstructed airways). But this can usually be eliminated immediately with oral hygiene. According to studies, around 40% of the population temporarily or permanently suffer from bad breath.

Four other halitosis self-tests / tricks on how to convict your own bad breath are:

  1. Spoon test
  2. Floss test
  3. Cotton swab test
  4. Tongue sight check

You can find out how the self-tests work here

Signs of bad breath / bad breath

In addition to the self-test, you can also look out for some signs of bad breath:

  1. More often one white coating on your tongue or a burning sensationl on the tongue
  2. Increased Nasal secretions or mucus in the throat
  3. Always a feeling of one dry mouth
  4. Increased desire yourself to clear throat
  5. Frequent, unsolicited To offer of chewing gum or Oral lozenges
  6. your Interlocutor turns from you from or keep your distance in direct conversation with you (pay attention to the facial expressions of your counterpart)
  7. Bad taste in the mouth after consuming beer, wine, milk or coffee, for example
  8. Often more acidic or bitter taste
  9. Feeling unsafe after home oral hygiene such as tongue cleaning, brushing your teeth or cleaning the spaces between your teeth

10 tips against bad breath

What CAN YOU IMMEDIATELY do against bad breath

  • 1. Home oral hygiene

    Cleansing the tongue is particularly helpful, as most of the “odor bacteria” are located on the back of the tongue. While the front part of the tongue is cleaned by contact with the roof of the mouth when swallowing and speaking, bacteria and food residues can settle in the rear part of the tongue. Cleaning the tongue should therefore be part of the daily care of the oral cavity.

  • 2. Regular professional teeth cleaning

    The careful cleaning by the prophylaxis expert not only reduces the number of harmful bacteria but also serves as a prevention against bad breath.

  • 3. Regular six-monthly check-ups

    Regular six-monthly check-ups at the dentist to treat any tooth decay, broken teeth or inflammation in the mouth.

  • 4. Disinfection

    Disinfection of toothbrushes, interdental brushes, tongue scrapers using UV rays or dental spray containing chlorhexidine, which prevents re-contamination with "odorous bacteria".

  • 5. Fluid regularly

    Drink fluids regularly - it is best to drink pure water. This washes away some of the foul-smelling sulfur compounds and fatty acids and gives you a better feeling in your mouth.

  • 6. Mouthwashes with sage tea

    Mouth rinses with sage tea prevents inflammation in the mouth and stabilizes the oral flora.

  • 7. Xylitol chewing gum

    Chewing gum with the sugar substitute xylitol or xylitol reduces harmful bacteria and establishes a healthy oral flora that prevents bad breath. But this is not a substitute for regular dental care.

  • 8. Check your sleep behavior

    Sleeping with your mouth open can also dry out the lining of your mouth.

  • 9. Cleaning the dentures

    Careful cleaning of the dentures is also very important.

  • 10. Basic disease

    Therapy for any underlying disease

Home remedies for bad breath

Various home remedies are also popular for the bad breath from the oral cavity. So far there are no scientific studies that prove the long-term effects of home remedies against bad breath. At the same time, the well-dosed use of the home remedies does not harm. Most importantly, chewing stimulates the flow of saliva and this is generally beneficial for health.

Drinking and rinsing with tea
Sage tea, peppermint tea or green tea help against bad breath and also have an antibacterial effect

Chew herbs or vegetables
Thyme, marjoram, fennel, anise, parsley, dill, ginger root, mint, sage

Oil pull or gargle with medicinal herb oil
Get high quality clove, caraway or fennel oil and gargle after brushing your teeth

Myths about bad breath

Again and again you can come across the following myths about bad breath. We have put together a few facts about this:

Bad breath can be eliminated with mouthwash
Mouthwash without antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine, briefly mask the unpleasant bad breath and only ensure fresh breath for a short period of time. The cause of the bad breath remains.

Bad breath comes from the stomach
Can be, but does not have to be, or in most cases it only applies in rare cases. See Causes & Factors of Bad Breath above. Consequently, cleaning the gastrointestinal tract is not effective in treating bad breath.

Bad breath is hereditary or inheritable
No. Basically there is no bad breath gene. Bacteria are not inheritable.

Bad breath is NOT treatable / curable
In 99% of cases, bad breath can be treated / cured, although not all at once, but with the right therapy or behavior change.

Eliminate bad breath by brushing your teeth AFTER breakfast
Basically, proper oral hygiene is extremely effective against bad breath. However, cleaning the oral cavity should be done immediately after getting up. This not only removes plaque and bacteria, but also protects your tooth enamel. Because acidic foods such as fruit and fruit juices are often part of breakfast and if you brush your teeth after breakfast, the tooth enamel is attacked even more by these acids.


Eating too quickly or skipping meals can affect the development of bad breath. Both hasty, fast and irregular eating have the consequence that the production of saliva is lower. Because the production of saliva is stimulated by chewing. If you chew less, you get less saliva produced and thus the protection against drying out of the mouth decreases. As a result, the breath can start to smell unpleasant. Therefore, adequate chewing is not only good for the subsequent digestive process but also important for oral health.

Yes absolutely. Poor oral hygiene is one of the most important factors in the development of bad breath. Regular tongue care is also very important for oral health. By using a Tongue cleaner remove the tongue coating and thereby eliminate the breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which are responsible for the production of unpleasant smelling gases. At the same time, your oral flora and your own sense of taste benefit from this.

Yes. Certain medications and the causes of diseases associated with them can have a negative effect on the smell in the mouth. It is best to ask your doctor or pharmacy here whether there could be a connection between your prescribed medication and halitosis.

Yes. If there is less salivation in the mouth, it can also promote bad breath. Saliva is very important for oral health, as it not only flushes leftover food out of the oral cavity but also remineralizes the teeth. If the flow of saliva is reduced, it can lead to an increase in bacterial colonization and consequently to bad breath. For example, the rather unpleasant smelling breath in the morning is due to the fact that the saliva production is lower at night and therefore the mouth dries out more. The following factors favor a dry mouth:

  • Low hydration
  • Breathing with your mouth open (mouth breathing)
  • snoring
  • Smoke
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Use of certain medications

On the one hand, medical mouthwashes and mouthwashes can help to clean the throat, the spaces between the teeth and the tongue of bacteria. On the other hand, so-called antibacterial mouthwashes based on a chlorhexidine solution kill a large number of existing bacteria, which can also be useful in some situations, such as with inflammation in the mouth and throat. However, long-term use of mouthwashes can also be harmful, as it also eliminates many organisms that are essential to a healthy oral flora. The best thing to do is to clarify with your dentist what is best in your personal situation.

Fasting can promote bad breath in some people. However, this is not always the case. As mentioned earlier, skipping a meal can lead to reduced salivation, which in turn can affect the development of bad breath. There is also experience that long and intensive fasting can lead to the body's own production of acetone, which can lead to an unpleasant halitosis. Since toxins are excreted through various organs during fasting, this can be associated with unwanted bad breath. Good dental care, especially of the tongue, helps in most cases. Oil pulling, frequent rinsing of the mouth or chewing herbs (e.g. sage) or drinking herbal teas have positive effects.

In addition to tooth decay, inflammation of the gums, periodontitis and tooth root inflammation, diseases of the throat or throat area are among the most common reasons for bad breath. These diseases include, for example, sore throat, fungal infection in the oral cavity (oral thrush), acute or chronic tonsillitis or enlarged tonsils. For example, it is possible that food scraps collect in the bulges of enlarged almonds. In addition to the clarification by a dentist, the consultation of an ENT specialist should also be considered.

The use of dental floss is generally advisable and will help fight bad breath. By using dental floss or interdental brushes, food residues and bacteria are removed from the spaces between the teeth. This has a positive effect on possible inflammation of the gums or gums, helps prevent plaque and also improves the smell of the breath. You can find out more about using the floss here.

Unsweetened green tea has an antioxidant and thus antibacterial effect due to its natural polyphenols (epigallocatechin-3-galat (EGCG) = secondary plant substances). The secondary plant substances change the food residues and thus the nutritional basis of some oral bacteria in such a way that they no longer reproduce well. As a result, there is also less release of sulfur-containing metabolic products, which has a positive effect on the air you breathe in your mouth. The green tea also fights those micro-organisms that prefer to settle between the teeth. The bottom line is that green tea with its secondary plant substances inhibits the growth of some oral bacteria and can thus have beneficial effects in the case of periodontal disease or bad breath. A final note is that the green tea does not have to be drunk for this, it is sufficient if the oral cavity is thoroughly rinsed out with it. This is especially beneficial for children.

Many people ask themselves this question, why the others apparently smell much more than you do, even if mostly only in passing. But there is an explanation why you don't really notice your own bad breath yourself, even though others may already turn away. Our nose plays a role here.It filters your own unpleasant smells out of the oral cavity. In other words the nose ignores the “scent mark” of one's own breath. This is due to the habituation effect. The nasal cavity and the oral cavity are connected to one another. As a result, the sense of smell is constantly exposed to the air you breathe.

Yes, increased psychological stress can negatively affect your own breath odor. Because under increased stress, the amount of saliva in the mouth decreases. But this flow of saliva is not only important in the fight against bad breath, but also for dental health.


Here you will find out how you can help prevent tooth decay and what to do in the event of tooth decay


Periodontal disease

Here you will find out how you can help prevent periodontal disease and what to do in case of periodontal disease



Here you can find out how tartar builds up and how you can take effective action against it. Tartar doesn't have to be!


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