Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Gingivitis and halitosis

Taking care of your mouth helps prevent problems such as dental bleeding, gingivitis (gum disease) and halitosis (bad breath).


Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums can be a symptom of gingivitis, which is a disease of the gums. Other symptoms can include tenderness, redness and swelling of the gums.

Gingivitis is usually caused by plaque, which is the result of a build up of bacteria on your teeth. Plaque is usually removed by brushing, but if it builds up it can irritate your gums and may cause bleeding and swelling.

Gingivitis can be caused by a number of things, but it is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. If you have an existing health condition, such as diabetes, you may be more likely to have oral hygiene problems such as gingivitis.

Without treatment gingivitis can get worse and cause serious problems such as abscesses, receding gums and tooth loss.

Halitosis (bad breath)

Halitosis is the medical name for bad breath.

The most common cause of bad breath is tiny food particles trapped in your teeth and mouth. When the natural bacteria in your mouth break down these tiny bits of food, a foul smelling gas is released. This causes bad breath. Good oral hygiene helps prevent bad breath.

Other factors that can cause bad breath include strong-flavoured foods, such as garlic and onion, and smoking.

The best way to get rid of bad breath is to floss regularly, clean your teeth twice a day and drink plenty of water.

Get advice on mouth care.

Please see your dentist if halitosis persists or you are concerned.

Last reviewed: August 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 8 results

Gum disease (gingivitis) :: SA Health

Gum disease (gingivitis) affects the gums, bone and the tissue supporting the teeth - care of your gums is as important as care of your teeth

Read more on SA Health website

Gum disease

Most people will have gum disease at some time in their life. Some of the common signs of gum disease are gums that are red, puffy or bleed.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Tooth decay and gum disease

Tooth decay and gum disease are the 2 main types of dental disease, but good oral hygiene can prevent them both.

Read more on WA Health website

Dental conditions during pregnancy -

Pregnancy can trigger oral health problems such as gingivitis, pregnancy epulis (pregancy granuloma) and tooth decay.

Read more on myDr website

Bleeding gums -

Bleeding gums are something many people notice when brushing their teeth or flossing, however, healthy gums rarely bleed.

Read more on myDr website

Flossing (18-30yrs) - Your Dental Health | Australian Dental Association

Flossing is essential to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. Information for younger Adults 18 - 30 years.

Read more on ADA – Australian Dental Association website

Kids' Health - Topics - Teeth - problems with teeth

If you are eating a variety of healthy foods and brushing your teeth properly then you should have healthy, strong teeth.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Dental care for adults :: SA Health

Dental care for adults - looking after your teeth and gums such as using fluoride toothpaste, having healthy snacks, chew sugar free gum

Read more on SA Health website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo