Bad Breath During Pregnancy, What does it mean?



Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is defined as “offensive odors emanating from the mouth or air-filled cavities, such as nose, sinuses, and pharynx”. In 90% of cases, the odor originates from the oral cavity alone. Bad breath is common among pregnant women.

Is Bad Breath Normal In Pregnancy?

Bad breath in pregnancy is common and usually occurs as a result of changes happening in the body.

The bad odor from the mouth comes due to the volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are mainly hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan. Many oral bacteria produce these compounds that lead to bad odor.

Associated Symptoms Of Bad Breath (Halitosis) During Pregnancy

At times, you might not realize that you have halitosis, and it might be told to you by your family or close friends. However, you might notice one or more of the following symptoms along with bad breath.

  • Red, swollen and bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth or reduced salivary flow
  • Coated tongue
  • Unpleasant metallic or bitter taste in the mouth

How To Avoid Bad Breath During Pregnancy?

Management of bad breath does not always need medical interventions. Some home remedies might help get rid of it.

Brush your teeth twice a day as it is the first step in the process of achieving a healthy mouth.

Floss your teeth daily to avoid food debris stuck between teeth.

Clean your tongue as it shelters bacteria that might cause halitosis.

Use lukewarm saltwater or an alcohol-free mouthwash to rinse your mouth after a meal.

Avoid food with a strong smell or brush your teeth after consuming such food.

Eat food that is rich in fiber because fiber-rich food has a self-cleansing action on the soft plaque of teeth. Also, fiber-rich food helps in improving digestion.

Drink plenty of water as it will help in the prevention of dry mouth and the resulting halitosis.

You can also use sugar-free chewing gums in order to get rid of the smell, and these gums also increase salivary flow.




Calcium supplements help maintain optimal blood calcium levels.

Take consent from your doctor before using them.

Get your dental check-up done regularly, which is usually recommended every six months.

When To See A Doctor

Experts usually recommend that a session of professional dental cleaning and polishing be done in the second trimester, even in the absence of any dental problems. You may discuss it with your doctor and dentist.

You should see a dentist under the following circumstances.

  1. Bad breath that is making you too self-conscious.
  2. Bleeding gums Any mobile (loose) teeth
  3. Painful teeth or gums
  4. Burning sensation in the mouth
  5. Metallic taste in the mouth
  6. Food lodgement between the teeth and gums
  7. Pus discharge from the gums

Diagnosis Of Bad Breath

Organoleptic measurement

This is considered a standard gold test in confirming bad breath. In this method, the examiner measures the air expelled by the patient through the nose. It is the most commonly deployed method to diagnose halitosis.

Gas chromatography

This is considered to be a highly reliable way to diagnose halitosis. Gas chromatography is used to measure volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs).

Sulfide monitoring

Sulfide monitoring is a relatively cheap way to measure the VSCs. It gauges the electrochemical reaction of sulfur-containing compounds in the expelled air on a sulfide monitoring device.

Chemical sensors

These sensors have an inbuilt probe that helps in measuring sulfur compounds from the tongue and the gum pockets. This sensor generates an electrochemical voltage, which is measured by an electronic device.

BANA test




A strip composed of benzoyl-DL-arginine-a-naphthylamide is used to detect microorganisms that cause bad breath.



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