Halitosis originates from the latin word "halitus" which means "Pathologic alteration of one's breath", A persistent unpleasant odour in exhaled breath usually not serious, commonly called as " BAD BREATH"

 Also known as - Halitosis, Fetor oris, Oral malodor and Putrid breath


  • Unpleasant smell present on breath


1. Genuine :

a.  85% of cases come from inside the mouth

b. The remaining cases are believed to be due to disorder in the nose,sinuses,Throat,Lungs,Oesophagus or                stomach

c.  Rarely bad breath can be due to an underlying medical conditions such as Liver failure or Keto acidosis

2. Non genuine :

Someone feels they have bad breath but someone else cannot detect it


Usually from inside the mouth: 

a. Mouth

b. Tongue

c. Gums

d.  Other less common causes

             a. MOUTH : In about 90% of geuine halitosis cases the origin of the odour is in the mouth itself known as intraoral                                               halitosis,oralmalodor or oral halitosis .

                     common causes -  a) Biofilm on the back of the tongue

                                                     b) Biofilm below the gumline

                                                     c) Biofilm in the pockets created by gum disease between teeth and the gums          

                  This biofilm result in the production of high level of foul odour

           b. TONGUE : Location for mouth halitosis is tongue,in tongue bacteria produces 80 - 90 % of all causes mouth related                                         bad breath.

                                 Degree of tongue coating affect more in halitosis than severity of periodontal disease

           c. GUMS :  Gingival cervices are the small grooves  between teeth and gums and they are present in health , although                                       may  become inflammed when gingivitis is present        

                             People with uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to have multiple gingival and periodontal abscess,their gums                               are  widened with large pockets,where pus accumulation occurs.This nidus of infection can be  a potential                                       source for bad breath.Removal of the subgingival calculus (tartar or hard plaque) and freeable tissue has been                                 shown to improve  mouth odour considerably   

                This is accomplished by    subgingival scaling and root planing and irrigation with an antibiotic mouth rinses.


                  Vsc's is known to be the greatest contribution in halitosis,the level of  vsc's on breath has been shown to positively corelate with the depth of periodontal pocketing.The number of pockets and whether the pockets bleed when examine with a dental probe.However not all patients with periodontal disease have halitosis,and not all patients with halitosis have peridontal disease although patients with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from halitosis than general population.

        d.  Other less common causes : Deep carious lesions

                                                               Recent dental extraction sockets

                                                              Interdental food impaction

                                                              Acrylic dentures (plastic false teeth)

                                                             Oral infection

                                                             Oral ulceration


                                                           Stress / Anxiety

                                                           Menstrual cycle

                                                           Smoking (second most common cause of oral malodour)


                                                          Volatile foods


e. Nose and Sinuses

f. Tonsils

g. Oesophagus

h. stomach

i. Systemic diseases

j. Delusional halitosis (olfactory reference syndrome)


                                          Here are some key points about bad breath 

                                     1. Bad breath is estimated to affect 1 in 4 people globally.

                                     2. The most common cause of halitosis is bad oral hygiene,so every 6 months dental checkup is mandatory

                                     3. If  particles or food left in the mouth they break down and bacteria produces sulphur compounds

                                     4. Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce the mouth odour

                                     5. The best treatment for bad breath is regular brushing,flossing and hydration

Halitosis is third most common reason that people seek dental care after tooth decay and gum disease

Simple home remedies and life style changes such as improved dental hygiene, and quiting smoking can often remove the issue

If bad breath persists however,it is advisable to visit doctor and check for underline causes




                                                          Obsessive complusive disorder 


                                      -    The best method to reduce halitosis is to maintain good oral hygiene

                                      -    It is recommended that individual visit dentist for checkup twice a year

                                      -    Dentist may recommend a tooth paste that includes antibacterial mouth wash

                                      -   Alternatively if gum disease is present professionally cleaning may be neccessary to clear out the buildup of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth

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