What is Halitosis?

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a condition that affects people of all ages. Although it is common, this problem is often embarrassing and may even cause anxiety for some people. Fortunately, all types of halitosis can be improved with the right treatment.

Symptoms of Halitosis

If you have halitosis, you may notice that your breath smells unpleasant on a regular basis. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, pain in certain parts of your mouth or dryness, depending on the cause of your halitosis.

What Causes Halitosis?

Halitosis can develop for several different reasons. Some of the most common causes of halitosis:

  • Medications – Certain medications can cause your body to release chemicals that lead to halitosis.
  • Dry mouth – If your mouth is too dry, you may develop bad breath. This occurs because there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth to wash away all of the particles that may cause your breath to have an unpleasant odor.
  • Certain foods – Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, are known for causing bad breath. If you have eaten these foods recently, you may develop halitosis temporarily.
  • Poor dental hygiene – Another of the most common causes of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles will remain on and between your teeth, leading to halitosis. Poor dental hygiene can contribute to a host of other problems as well, including cavities and gum disease.
  • Use of tobacco products – Using tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, can contribute to halitosis.

Other less-common causes of halitosis include certain diseases, some chronic conditions and infections in your mouth.

Treatment Options

Several treatment options exist for patients with halitosis. The exact treatment you will need depends on the cause of your bad breath. Before recommending any treatment, your dentist will spend time evaluating your breath, reviewing your medical history and identifying all factors that could be contributing to the problem.

For example, if your bad breath is caused by food or use of tobacco products, your dentist may recommend avoiding these substances. If your bad breath is a result of poor dental hygiene, you may need a dental cleaning. You will also need to improve your dental hygiene habits at home. In cases where poor dental hygiene has led to gum disease, you may need other treatments to remove all of the odor-causing bacteria from your mouth and restore your overall oral health. Your dentist will discuss all of these options with you in detail so you can make the best decision.