Bad smelling breath? NHS says 'crash dieting' may be the cause – other possibilities


The health body says the best way of making sure you do not have bad breath is to keep your teeth, tongue and mouth clean. Indeed, the Mayo Clinic says: “Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety.” If you are able to find the cause, such as smoking, you may be able to stop bad breath. According to the NHS, crash dieting is a common culprit.

According to Holland and Barrett, a crash diet will expect you to slash your calories right from the start, often to below your basal metabolic rate, or BMR (the amount of calories your body needs to carry out its basic functions).

The NHS says ther causes of bad breath include:

  • Eating or drinking strong-smelling or spicy foods and drinks
  • Problems with your teeth or gums, such as gum disease, holes in your teeth or an infection
  • Crash dieting
  • Some medical conditions, like dry mouth, tonsillitis and acid reflux
  • Smoking.

The Johns Hopkins University says: “Without correct and regular brushing and flossing, and routine dental exams, food remains in the mouth.
“This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Food that collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue may rot. This causes an unpleasant odour and taste in the mouth.”

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Harvard Health notes: “Almost everyone experiences bad breath once in a while. But for some people, bad breath is a daily problem, and they struggle to find a solution.

“Approximately 30 percent of the population complains of some sort of bad breath.”

It adds: “Sometimes people think they have bad breath, even when their breath is objectively fine. This is called “pseudo-halitosis.” Halitophobia, or fear of bad breath, is real and may persist despite reassurance from a doctor.

“People with pseudo-halitosis respond well to reassurance, and may benefit from speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist who has expertise in the field.”


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