Physiology of Halitosis

Bad breath is also known as halitosis or fetor oris. Halitosis can cause significant worry and embarrassment, it is estimated that bad breath affects 1 in 4 globally. Halitosis is one of the common reason to visit the dentist.


  • Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices also can cause bad breath.
  • Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
  • If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath.
  • Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia can contribute to bad breath because the production of saliva is decreased.
  • Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
  • Bad breath can occasionally be caused by conditions affecting the nose or throat, such as chronic inflammation of the nose, chronic tonsillitis, and sinusitis.
  • Some cancers of oral cavity and throat can cause a distinctive breath odor
  • Certain metabolic disorders result in bad breath as a result of chemicals they produce.
  • Chronic reflux of stomach acids can be associated with bad breath. Bad breath itself is a symptom of the above-mentioned conditions.

Treatment in Allopathy

The dentist will likely smell both the breath from the mouth and the breath from your nose and rate the odor

There are sophisticated detectors that can identify the chemicals responsible for bad breath. They include the following:

  • Halimeter: This detects low levels of sulfur
  • BANA test: This measures levels of a specific enzyme produced by halitosis-causing bacteria.
  • Beta-galactosidase test: Levels of the enzyme beta-galactosidase have been found to correlate with mouth odor.

Further treatment for bad breath can vary, depending on the cause.

  • Regular brushing, flossing, hydration
  • Clean dentures daily
  • Change toothbrush when it becomes frayed
  • Have regular dental checkups twice a year
  • Treat associated gum or tooth disease
  • Treat the underlying cause of bad breath

Bad Breath in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, bad breath is a result of two associated causes weak digestion and poor oral hygiene. Sometimes issues related to respiration, cold and coughs also cause bad breath. The bad breath is due to bacteria that reside mouth and throat. The weak digestion causes the ama to accumulate in the body. You see it on your tongue as a white coating. If this ama or toxins are not cleaned from the mouth and body bad breath would worsen.

Treatment in Ayurveda

The first line of treatment is to remove the toxins from the body, strengthen the digestive system and lay emphasis on oral hygiene.


Panchakarma techniques like Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation), and Basti (enema)can be used to rid the toxins from the body. Triphala, aloe vera, and amla can be used for the cleansing purpose. In case you have a chronic cough you need to take Ayurveda medication for treating cold otherwise accumulated sputum can cause many health issues.

Strengthen the digestive system

To strengthen the digestive system it is important for a person to know his/her prominent dosha and tailor-make your diet to balance the vitiated dosha. You need to remove all food items that are difficult to digest like animal proteins, fried food, junk food processed and refined foods. Nourishing food like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are recommended. A weekly cleansing of the colon can be carried out by use of colon cleansers. Sometimes saliva gets depleted because of alcohol or medication. Drinking plenty of water ensures that the mouth remains hydrated and saliva is able to do its job of flushing out toxins.

Oral Hygiene

Ayurveda lays overwhelming emphasis on oral health. Brushing your teeth three times a day with herbal toothpaste or powder. Daily tongue cleaning with either a silver or copper tongue cleaner is a must. Regular tongue cleaning removes the bad bacteria accumulated in ama on the tongue. Incorporate daily flossing in your regimen.

A case of tooth decay needs to be fixed immediately. To freshen up your breath you can chew mint leaves, cloves or fennel seeds.

Yoga and Pranayama

A regular practice of Yoga would ensure proper functioning of the digestive system. Pranayamas like Kapalbhati, Anulom-Vilom, Brahmari, and Sheetali would ensure not only your digestive health but also help you to keep your mouth fresh.

Bad Breath and Naturopathy

Naturopathy regards bad breath as a result of a combination of factors like poor oral hygiene, poor digestion, low acidic levels in the stomach leads to the growth of methane-producing bacteria in the small intestine or SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth), chronic constipation and poor liver function. A simple breath test can tell whether you have SIBO.

Treatment in Naturopathy

Like Ayurveda, naturopathy belives on pursuing a holistic approach towards treating bad breath. It concentrates on detoxing of the body of toxins, rejuvenation of digestive system and the liver, incorporating principles of oral hygiene, and yoga and pranayama.

Oral Hygiene

The oral issues can be sorted by brushing, massaging the gums, tongue cleaning and flossing. Oil pulling with unrefined coconut oil is especially beneficial in maintaining oral health. Oil pulling is done by taking a teaspoon of oil in the mouth and swishing it around for 10 -15 minutes. After completion, spit out the oil and brush your teeth.


Fasting on vegetable and fruit juices is a potent way of getting rid of toxins from the body. If you are at a naturopathy center fasting can be combined with a medicated enema to ensure proper cleaning of the gut. Liver and kidney pack further help in rejuvenating these organs.


A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended for the removal of all junk, fried and refined food items. Taking probiotics like fermented vegetables will help to improve the bacteria. The concentration of hydrochloric acid in the small intestine can be improved by one spoon of taking apple cider vinegar in a glass of water twice before meals. Chewing fennel seeds and mint leaves is beneficial.

Bad Breath and Homeopathy

Halitosis or bad breath can be treated very effectively with homeopathy. Homeopathy offers a safe treatment considering all the underlying reasons for the bad breath.

  1. Nux Vomica– Nux vomica is a wonderful remedy that suits persons who suffer from bad breath in the morning. The bad breath in these persons has its roots at the Gastro-Intestinal level. Nux Vomica is ideal for Type A personalities who are workaholics, working late into the night with little sleep. Coffee and alcohol keep them running and fast-food like pizzas are their regular diet. Nux Vomica is ideal for people who have problems like acidity, heartburn, constipation and peptic ulcers along with their bad breath. The tongue in a Nux Vomica patient is coated thick yellow.
  2. Merc Sol– Merc Sol is the indicated remedy in cases where the person has a characteristic metallic odor emanating from his mouth. His salivary glands are overactive and his mouth is full of saliva which he is constantly spitting. The saliva too has a metallic taste and odor. The tongue is also very moist and flabby and shows imprints of the teeth. The bad breath in Merc Sol arises out of dental issues. There are tooth decay and bleeding gums. These give rise to the offensive breath.
  3. Belladonna- Belladonna is the most widely used acute remedy in homeopathy. The bad breath in belladonna is due to throat infections. The tonsils are swollen and bright red. High-grade fever usually accompanies tonsillitis and bad breath.
  4. Hepar Sulph– Hepar Sulph is indicated for bad breath arising in the second stage of inflammation. A person who needs Hepar Sulph will show pus formation and discharge. This is the reason for his bad breath. The pus formation is usually the result of severe tonsillitis, pyorrhea or tooth decay.
  5. Pulsatilla– Pulsatilla is the indicated remedy for cases of halitosis with a dry mouth. The mouth is extremely dry which is the reason for and adds to the bad breath. But the person has no desire to drink water. The tongue is dry and covered with a thick coating of mucus.

Homeopathic medicines tackle the problem of bad breath by attacking the root cause.The medicines given here are indicative. It is important to meet a homeopath and get a tailor-made remedy chosen for your characteristic symptoms. The right homeopathic medicine and general oral hygiene are the best ways to get rid of bad breath permanently.


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