Bad Breath

Also called: Halitosis

There are many reasons why you might have bad breath. You can get it if you don't brush and floss regularly. Bacteria that build up in your mouth and between your teeth produce the bad odor. Other problems in your mouth, such as gum disease, dry mouth or cavities, may also cause it. Sinusitis or problems with your nose may be to blame. You can also have bad breath if you eat some foods, like raw onions, garlic or cabbage. And of course smoking causes its own bad aroma. Some diseases and medicines are associated with a specific breath odor.

Having good dental habits, like brushing and flossing regularly, help fight bad breath. Mouthwashes, mints or chewing gum may make your breath fresher. If you have an underlying disorder, treating it may help eliminate the breath odor.

Symptoms of Bad Breath

The following features are indicative of Bad Breath:
  • unpleasant oral odor

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Common Causes of Bad Breath

The following are the most common causes of Bad Breath:
  • poor oral hygiene
  • periodontal disease
  • degree of tongue coating
  • deep carious lesions
  • unclean dentures
  • respiratory diseases

Other Causes of Bad Breath

The following are the less common causes of Bad Breath:
  • oral carcinomas
  • throat infections
  • alcohol consumption
  • use of tobacco products

Risk Factors for Bad Breath

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Bad Breath:
  • areca nut chewing
  • betel leaf chewing
  • gingival enlargement

Prevention of Bad Breath

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Bad Breath. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • regular tongue cleaning
  • use of mouth rinsers
  • educating patients about good oral hygiene

Occurrence of Bad Breath

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Bad Breath cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Bad Breath can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Bad Breath can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Bad Breath

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Bad Breath:
  • Organoleptic test: To measure the unpleasant odors by smelling the exhaled air of the mouth and nose
  • Gas chromatography: To calculate the volatile sulfur compounds
  • Sulfide monitor: To measure the volatile sulfur-containing compounds
  • Chemical sensors: To calculate the sulfur compounds from periodontal pockets and on the tongue surface
  • Benzoyl-arginine naphthylamide test: To detect not only halitosis, but also periodontal risk assessment
  • Salivary incubation test: To evaluate salivary incubation and halitosis
  • Ammonia monitoring: To detect halitosis
  • Ninhydrin method: To measure the amino acids and low-molecular-weight amines

Doctor for Diagnosis of Bad Breath

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Bad Breath:
  • Dentist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Periodontist

Complications of Bad Breath if untreated

Yes, Bad Breath causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Bad Breath is left untreated:
  • periodontal diseases
  • dental caries
  • damage the gums

Self-care for Bad Breath

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Bad Breath:
  • Brush teeth after eating: Helps in reducing bad breath odors
  • Floss at least once a day: Helps in controlling bad breath
  • Brush your tongue: Helps in reducing odors
  • Clean dentures or dental appliances: Helps in reducing mouth odors
  • Avoid dry mouth: Helps in reducing bad breath odors

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Bad Breath.
Child Dental Health
Dental Health
Dry Mouth
Gum Disease

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