Bad breath affects about 2.5 billion people around the world, with many struggling to find a solution. We grilled TheraBreath Oral Rinse creator, Dr. Harold Katz, on its causes, and his top tips for fighting halitosis. 

“Your mouth is the doorway to the rest of your body,” says Dr Katz. “Many studies show links between gum disease and heart disease and strokes. It’s not just about bad breath.”

How do you check for bad breath?

We’ve always thought that blowing into your hand was the Gold Standard way of testing your breath. No, says Dr. Katz. “This is a great way to smell your hand. It does not give you an indication of what your breath is.”

More accurate methods include conducting a sniff test. Dr. Katz says, “it’s as simple as licking the back of your hand, allowing it to dry, and smelling it. You can also ask a family member or friend, but this can come with embarrassment.”

What actually causes bad breath?

There are, in fact, myriad causes of bad breath. If you have bad breath, the culprit might be one or more of the below.


“Anaerobic bacteria is actually the main cause of the chronic bad breath compound,” reveals Dr. Katz. “They are meant to be there, but when they become out of balance, it becomes a bad breath issue. Anything that alters the oral environment, and in turn the balance of bacteria in the mouth, can contribute to bad breath.”


“Dairy foods have a protein that the bacteria love and it feeds them,” says Dr. Katz. “Sulphur-containing foods like onions and garlic can also create an imbalance in the bacteria.”

Likewise, a high protein diet could be the culprit. “Protein is one of the worst for bad breath. The bacteria that causes bad breath loves protein and too much protein can cause an imbalance in good and bad bacteria in the mouth.”

Dry Mouth

Our mouths rely on saliva to keep the microbiome healthy and balanced. “Anything that dries the oral environment will contribute to bad breath,” reveals Dr. Katz. “This can include vaping, and smoking cigarettes and cannabis. Exercise can also dry your mouth out, especially if you are a mouth breather. There’s no need to stop – simply ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.”


Alcohol is dehydrating and will cause dry mouth. “It also feeds the bacteria in your mouth and creates an imbalance, which can lead to bad breath,” says Dr Katz.

Smoking cigarettes or vaping

“Aside from drying out the mouth, these will introduce chemicals and toxins that will cause bacterial imbalance,” says Dr. Katz..


Certain medications can have a side effect of dry mouth. They can prevent you from producing enough saliva. “When you lose saliva, you lose the natural ability to fight bad breath,” advises Dr. Katz.

How to combat bad breath


“This is a temporary measure,” states Dr. Katz. “They taste minty and fresh but that doesn’t mean your breath is fresher. Always read the ingredients, especially when it comes to mints. They often have sugar and gelatine, the latter of which is a protein that the bacteria [that causes bad breath] loves.

Check your toothpaste

You want to make sure the mouth is healthy and moist at the same time, but some toothpastes contain an ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is the chemical term for soap. It is a drying ingredient. We tend to see the foam and bubbles and think the toothpaste is working well and cleaning our mouth.  Research now suggests  it can lead to canker sores. It’s also very rough on the oral cavity.  Look for a toothpaste without this.


Always floss, after every meal, to get rid of any trapped food that can either turn in the mouth, or indeed provide a meal for bad-breath causing bacteria,” advises Dr. Katz.

Use a Tongue Scraper

Tongue scrapers are great. However, while helpful, and certainly will keep your mouth feeling fresh, scraping your tongue won’t necessarily eliminate the problem altogether. “You’re getting rid of the surface debris from the bacteria. But your tongue is like a shag carpet. The bacteria lives in the bottom, so you need a holistic routine to get rid of the bacteria living in the shag.

Drink plenty of water

“Water helps keep the mouth hydrated and contains minerals and oxygen, which are the natural enemy to bacteria,” reveals Dr. Katz. “I always tell people to look for fruits and veggies with lots of liquid, too.”

Use an Oral Rinse

Avoid an oral rinse that contains alcohol, advises Dr. Katz, as it can dehydrate the mouth. “Look for one with an oxygen compound as a base as you are targeting the anaerobic bacteria that can’t survive in the presence of oxygen. Use it before you go to sleep at night. The brain knows you’re not eating, so it turns down saliva production. This allows the oxygen compound in the rinse to work overnight.”

Have a regular dental check

Seeing your dentist every six months will help keep plaque at bay, prevent gum disease and encourage better oral health altogether.

About Therabreath

Dubbed ‘the TikTok Mouthwash’ in the US (it’s had over 134 million TikTok shout outs), TheraBreath Oral Rinse has quickly become a cult mouthwash and one that users are saying is exactly what Halitosis sufferers have been looking for.

TheraBreath was created by Dentist and Bacteriologist Dr Harold Katz. It was his aim to create a product that could effectively fight bad breath for up to 24 hours when used every 12 hours after brushing and flossing.

“I started TheraBreath with the pure intention of helping my young daughter find

a solution to her bad breath,” says Dr Katz.  “Standard mouthwashes were making her breath more offensive and the problem persisted despite brushing and flossing several times a day.

Rather than simply masking bad breath or food odours with heavy flavours or powerful fragrances, the Oral Rinse offers a solution to the actual cause of the condition – bacteria and food smells.

Dr Katz tested the rinse with his signature Onion Test in which he measured his breath prior to biting into an onion with a Halometer and it showed his breath was normal. He then bit into the onion and re-measured it using Therabreath Oral Rinse. The results showed that his breath measured normal as opposed to the same tests using existing oral rinses.

Shonagh Walker is one of Australia's most prolific and respected lifestyle writers, covering everything from health and beauty to travel and entertainment. In her 30+ year career she has interviewed some of the world's most famous faces, covered stories from the lighthearted to the very serious, all with the aim of somehow helping her readers feel better about themselves, or arming them with information to enjoy life to the fullest. Shonagh is the recipient of several prestigious awards for her work. On the rare day she is not at her computer, she can be found walking her dogs or trying to improve her gardening skills.