A girl covering her mouth because she has bad breath


What is Halitosis?

Halitosis or bad breath is defined as an unpleasant smell of the exhaled air, regardless of its cause. Above all, halitosis is a common problem affecting all ages, men, and women alike. According to Harvard Medical school, 30% of the population are suffering from bad breath on daily bases. In addition, bad breath can cause social embarrassment and anxiety. Chronic bad breath my negatively affect individual’s quality of life. However, halitosis can be temporary or long-lasting.

Halitosis Causes

The causes of bad breath can be divided into local oral and systemic causes. However, transient bad breath is mostly caused by certain foods and drinks.

What are the Systemic Causes of Bad Breath?

Although bad breath comes from the mouth, halitosis may be a symptom of systemic disease. For best treatment results, it is very important to find out the source of the problem. In other words, bad breath caused by systemic problem should be treated by the right specialist. Diseases that cause of bad breath are:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases such as: chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung infection and tonsilitis.
  • Liver disease.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases such as gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Some types of cancer.

What are the Oral Causes of Bad Breath?

Bad breath coming from mouth problems is caused by bad smell (Volatile Sulfur Compound) producing bacteria. However, bad smell forming bacteria may grow on teeth, tongue, and oral appliances. The following oral conditions are common causes for bad breath:

  • Poor oral hygiene. You should keep your teeth and mouth clean to avoid halitosis. Bacteria build up and food particles when left uncleaned for long time will cause bad breath. in conclusion, maintaining good oral hygiene is very important to prevent halitosis.
  • Gum disease. One of the symptoms of gum disease is bad breath. Therefore, keep your gums healthy if you are concerned about bad breath.
  • Decayed or rotten teeth. Rotten teeth are among the most common cause of bad breath. 
  • Bacteria build up on the tongue. 
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by local or systemic conditions. Patients with dry mouth are more likely to get bad breath. Drinking a cup of water will give you a fast fix for your bad breath. 
  • Using uncleaned dentures, retainers, aligners, and mouth guards. Bacteria build up on these appliances may cause bad breath.
  • Dental and gum abscess.
  • Salivary gland diseases.
  • Faulty dentistry. Crowns with open margins and defective fillings are possible causes of bad breath.

What are Other Causes of Bad Breath?

  • Foods such as garlic and onion.
  • Crash diets.
  • Drinks such as alcohol and coffee.
  • Tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigar.
  • Medications specially those that cause dry mouth.

What are the Symptoms of Halitosis?

A bad odor or smell coming from the mouth is the main symptom of halitosis. above all, the bad breath is usually worse during certain times of the day such as early morning. However, an individual with halitosis may not notice the problem, your partner and people coming close to you will most likely smell your bad breath. 

How to Diagnose Halitosis?

Bad breath diagnosis is made based the history. Your dentist may smell your breath and find out if you have halitosis.   However, diagnostic test using Halimeter,  Gas chromatography, and BANA test are useful to diagnose and monitor the effectiveness of halitosis treatment. Above all, your dentist is the best professional to diagnose halitosis. He also can tell you if your bad breath is coming from the mouth or from somewhere else. Your dentist may refer you to the right specialist if he finds that your bad breath source is not the mouth.

How to Prevent Halitosis?

Halitosis caused by oral conditions can easily be prevented by implementing the following recommendations:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth at least two times a day.
  • Brush your tongue. Use tongue scrapper, it is very useful in keeping your tongue clean.
  • Keep your oral appliances such as retainers, aligners, mouth guards and dentures clean. Use a toothbrush and tooth paste to clean your oral appliances. You also may use some of the over the counter cleaning products to clean your appliances. Read the instructions for cleaning your appliances carefully as some of these products might damage your appliances.
  • Stay away from tobacco products, alcohol and foods associated with bad breath such as garlic and onion.
  • Eat healthy food rich in fibers, food rich is fibers helps keep your mouth healthy and helps clean your teeth while eating.
  • Keep your mouth moist by drinking a lot of water.
  • Avoid mouth breathing.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year. This will keep your mouth health under control and prevent halitosis caused by bacteria buildup.

Halitosis Treatment?

Dr. Khalifeh recommends treating the underlying cause for your bad breath. Halitosis is not a disease by itself, it’s a symptom of diseases or conditions. Treatment of halitosis can be divided into two main categories, firstly, fast temporary treatment. Secondly, permanent treatment and cure.

How to Treat Bad Breath instantly?

As a temporary fix to bad breath, you can do the following:

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Use over the counter alcohol free mouth rinses.
  • Use mint or minty products. This will mask the bad breath but doesn’t treat halitosis.

How to Cure Halitosis Permanently?

  • Bad breath caused by oral conditions is easy to cure permanently. Usually, this requires a teamwork involving you and your dentist. Your dentist and hygienist will take care of your dental and periodontal diseases. Your duty is to maintain good oral hygiene through daily teeth brushing and flossing.
  • Treat the underlying medical condition. If your bad breath is not caused an oral conditions, your dentist will refer you to the right specialist. Treating the underlying systemic condition will help cure your bad breath.

Halitosis Vs. Halitophobia

Halitosis is when someone truly has bad breath. Halitophobia also called Pseudo-Halitosis is when an individual thinks he / she has bad breath, but they do not. Using a Halimeter on patients with Halitophobia might help convince them that they do not have halitosis. If the Halimeter technique fails, patients with Halitophobia may benefit from consulting with a psychiatrist or therapist.

Where You Go for Bad Breath Treatment in Los Angeles?

At the Museum Dental center, we helped hundreds of patients suffering from bad breath over the years. Our long experience set us a side from most of the other dental offices to treat this problem. Contact our office now for consultation.

Our address: SAG-AFTRA Plaza, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #5, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: (323) 933-3855

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