how bacteria causes bad breath and natural remedies


1Have you met people with bad breath, after repeated brushing and cleaning the odd smell is not erased, feeling uncomfortable when talking to close. Bad breath or halitosis is a common problem in the society. Here our topic is how bacteria causes bad breath and natural remedies.

One cause of oral malodour or bad breath is microbial degradation of bacteria. In this process, volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) are formed which is a major factor of bad breath. The most important VSCs involved in halitosis or bad breath are hydrogen sulphide (H2S), methyl mercaptan (CH3SH) and dimethyl sulphide (CH3)2S.

What research says

Millions of bacteria live inside the body, some of which produce volatile sulphur compound. Not the all. More researches yet to come to finalize a clear picture. Here I have picked up some researches in relation to bacteria related halitosis. Helicobacter pylori a critical bacteria has ability develop antibiotic resistance and shown to produce volatile sulphur compound. Antibiotic also contains negative health effect.

A meta analysis study informed that there is clear evidence that H pylori bacteria infection correlates with bad breath. And H pylori eradication therapy may be helpful in those patients with refractory halitosis.(1)

Another study published in Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, H. pylori was shown to produce volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan.  This suggests that H. Pylori can contribute to the development of halitosis or bad smell of mouth.(2)

Research also detected h. Pylori in oral cavities suggesting that progression of oral cavity and inflammation may favour colonization by the bacteria. Which may further indirectly relates with bad breath originated from mouth source.(3)

A study published in Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, in which they examined 94 patients having halitosis out of which 54 had gastrointestinal problem suggesting that gastrointestinal was is common cause of bad breath regardless the dental factor.(4)

Gastrointestinal diseases cause food retention also halitosis.  Esophageal reflux and other malabsorption problem may cause excessive gas or helicobacter pylori infection causes gastric ulcers and volatile sulphur compounds(VSC) levels increase in oral breath. Level of oral bad breath may be higher in patients with infection in gastrointestinal tract than without infection.(5)Bad breath originated from stomach closely associated with indigestion, bacterial overgrowth, reflux disease.


Weak stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth

There is agreement-disagreement of bad breath originated from gut. But bacteria is certainly a cause.

Earlier we have mentioned role of stomach acid in bacterial overgrowth also with GERD. We have also mentioned that your GI tract (Gastrointestinal tract) from mouth to anus is body’s exposure to the outside world. Everything you ingest from outside world passes though your GI tract. In that way your body exposes to foreign pathogens like virus, bacteria, fungus or other micro-organism that are coming with food or other way.

Stomach acid or gastric juice is the body’s first line defense. Normal stomach acids kill bacteria or other harmful virus and thus protect the body from attack of foreign pathogens. Stomach acid become weak as people ages and with continuous usage of antacid, proton pump inhibitor or other acid suppressor. And in such condition pathogen like bacteria, fungus can find their happy home there and starts colonization. We have also mentioned that helicobacter pylori bacteria a major culprit can even sustain strong stomach acid and helicobacter pylori infection causes peptic ulcers and gastric cancer most commonly.


In majority halitosis or bad breath originated from oral sources. Other sources also exist.

Mastic from mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) kills H. pylori and also other bacteria. Chewing mastic gum kills bacteria as well as helps to remove bad breath and heal ulcer. Probiotics also helps to get ride to pathogenic bacteria. We mentioned details about it in our previous article best natural treatments to eradicate H. pylori bacteria from your stomach.

Restoration of stomach acid aids digestion as well as kills bacteria. Earlier we mentioned how weak stomach acid relates to indigestion, bacterial overgrowth and restoration of stomach acid,. However for people having stomach infection or ulcer this should be done only after healing from infection or ulcer.

Foods containing artificial sugar, sweetened beverage, diet soda or cold beverage, sticky foods help to accumulation of bacteria, bad for gum, teeth, so better to avoid or limit.

Lemon contains antioxidant, antimicrobial properties. You may also use lemon water to drink the water or gargle or rinsing mouth. Honey also poses antibacterial property with manuka honey in top. Some people also use salt water mouth rinse for oral health. Clove and neem also possess antibacterial properties. Apart from brushing and cleaning teeth, hydrated your body well to get ride of bad breath. If you have oral or dental problem you should consult with a physician.

Remember apart from bacteria other causes of bad breath also exist.

Disclaimer: The above article is a generalized health information purpose 
only not for individual with specific health condition. Individual may have 
varying experience to the same food based upon heath condition, allergic 
reaction to foods.Any application of above methods should be under guidance 
of proper knowledgeable healthcare professional only.
Sources & references: 
1.Halitosis and helicobacter pylori infection, A meta-analysis,Wenhuan Dou, 
MM,Juan Li, MM, Liming Xu, MM, Jianhong Zhu, PhD, Kewei Hu, MM, Zhenyu Sui, 
MM, Jianzong Wang, MM,Lingling Xu, MM, Shaofeng Wang, MM, and Guojian Yin, 
PhD,Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Sep; 95(39): e4223 
2.Volatile sulfur compounds produced by Helicobacter pylori, Lee H1, Kho 
HS, Chung JW, Chung SC, Kim YK.,J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 May-
3.Detection of Helicobacter pylori DNA in the saliva of patients 
complaining of halitosis., Suzuki N,Yoneda M, Naito T, Iwamoto T, Masuo Y, 
Yamada K, Hisama K, Okada I, Hirofuji T., J Med Microbiol. 2008 
Dec;57(Pt 12):1553-9 
4.The gastrointestinal aspects of halitosis,Kinberg S1, Stein M, Zion N, 
Shaoul R, Can J Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;24(9):552-6 
5.Halitosis: From diagnosis to management,Bahadır Uğur Aylıkcı and Hakan 
Çolak,J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2013 Jan-Jun; 4(1): 14–23
Bikramjit Konwar

Author: Bikramjit Konwar


112 Responses

  1. Your informative post throws light about a problem that many face. While one would blame Halitosis to bad oral hygiene, your post informs more clearly about its causes. Your suggestions will help many too. i liked reading the post. Cheers!

  2. As a mother, Oral health of my kids is always a matter of concern to me. Exposure to junk food and picky eating habits can give rise to the problem of bad breath in their early years as well. Your informative post has helped me to keep in check the requisites for avoiding bad breath. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Preeti, kids need healthy foods to grow better, fake food impair growth and makes them disease prone. However it is not easy in present condition as manufacturers are playing tricky game to attract the innocent kids. I am trying to give awareness to my kid about healthy eating. thanks for your valuable input

  3. Bad breath as you have pointed out is a common problem. I use paste with neem which limits the problem to an extent. This is the first time I have her of mastic. Will look it up.

    Namratha from #firstgreenstep #MyFriendAlexa

  4. A very important post that talks of bad breath and its remedies. Natural remedies are always better than medicines and the like, Thank you for sharing this information with us.
    #DeepTiesReads #MyFriendAlexa

    1. Yes Snehalata, bacteria is only one cause, several causes are there. To get ride of a disorder definitely have to identify and address the root cause. This is the problem we have most commonly, treating symptoms only not addressing the root cause. Thanks for your input. Keep posting, your post will help people

  5. Bad breath is unbearable sometimes. Especially when you are in a path where where you have to have a lot of one-on-one conversation, it gets hard. Our changed eating habits has a big role to play.

    #MothersGurukulreads #Myfriendalexa

  6. Thanks for highlighting the bad breathe problem along with the reasons… Lifestyle changes can help a lot in getting rid of it, though not in all the cases… Thanks for the natural remedies as well!

  7. Chewing mint leaves or tulsi leaves also helps in cleaning the mouth and having a fresh breath. Cleaning the tongue apart from the teeth is also necessary.
    Very informative post, and done in detail.

    1. Tulsi poses antibacterial property, mint gives fresh air, cleaning teeth and tongue is very much necessary,thanks Shilpa, your input will help other

  8. This is a really informative & well-researched post, I didn’t know these reasons for bad breath & it’s relation to bacteria. Thanks for sharing the remedies.

  9. I come across lots of people with bad breath and I began Wondering if even I had those. This is a lot of information on bad breath and now I might judge them a little less.

  10. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

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