Halitosis: Causes and Treatments

Nobody wants to think they have bad breath, but it happens to just about everyone. There are many causes of bad breath, ranging from certain foods and beverages to smoking to poor oral hygiene. Chronic bad breath is known by the medical name “halitosis.” 

What is halitosis?

While we all have bad breath at some point in our lives, for some people it can be more serious. Chronic bad breath that is beyond what might be considered “normal” and caused by an oral health problem is called halitosis. Some research indicates that persistent halitosis may be a sign of gum disease, so it’s important to get it checked out. Your dentist can help you identify the cause of bad breath so you can work on treating this condition.

Source: What Is Halitosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment | LISTERINE®

Common causes of halitosis

Here are some of the most common causes of halitosis:


All foods are broken down during digestion, but certain foods, like garlic and onions, take longer to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Until these foods are completely processed, they can potentially affect your breath. 

Poor oral care

We all know that brushing and flossing are important to overall oral health. Skipping this routine hygiene can mean that food particles remain in the mouth, creating a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause halitosis.

Improper care of retainers or dentures 

It is just as important to keep any oral appliance clean as it is to regularly brush your teeth and floss. Follow your dentist or orthodontist’s instructions to make sure your dentures or orthodonture appliance are free from food particles and bacteria.

Periodontal (gum) disease

One of the main symptoms of gum disease is bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. If you notice either of these persisting, visit your dentist to get checked for periodontal disease. 

Dry mouth 

A decrease in saliva production means that your mouth can’t clean itself well, which can lead to bad breath. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be caused by certain medications, illnesses that make it difficult to breath through the nose, or a salivary gland disorder. See a doctor if you have chronic dry mouth problems.

Heath conditions 

Certain diseases or other health conditions can cause bad breath, including

  • Respiratory infections, including bronchitis and post-nasal drip
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Liver or kidney disorders

How to Deal with Bad Breath and Halitosis

There are some obvious remedies to the problem of bad breath or halitosis, and some that many people might not have considered. 

Brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping

In addition to brushing and flossing at least twice a day, scraping the tongue is a great way to rid your mouth of bacteria. Tongue scrapers are a gentle, easy way to clean this part of the mouth, but you can also use a toothbrush.

Changing your diet

Avoiding foods like onions and garlic can make a difference in your breath. Coffee can also cause halitosis, so consider another source of caffeine, like a cup of tea. And of course, try to brush your teeth soon after eating. 

Find mouth-cleaning alternatives

When you can’t brush, eating crunchy fruits or vegetables like apples and carrots can dislodge other food particles and help saliva production. Chewing sugarless gum can temporarily freshen breath and keep your mouth from getting dry.

When in doubt, ask your dentist

Along with these tips, always remember to set a regular checkup appointment with the dentist every six months to ensure healthier teeth and fresh breath!

Source: What Causes Bad Breath? – Halitosis | familydoctor.org

Contact Yorkshire Family Dentistry for Fresh Breath Tips

The dental professionals at Yorkshire Family Dentistry are experts in the latest in oral care for Yorktown, VA families, including halitosis treatments. Give us a call today at (757) 867-9341 to get answers to all your questions about keeping your breath fresh.