Halitosis: What It Is and How to Handle It

woman covering her teeth while talking

We’ve all experienced bad breath, whether our own or somebody else’s. Truth is, while bad breath can be caused by foods like onions, garlic, coffee, tuna and many others, that’s not the only cause. Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, is something which can’t be fixed with brushing, using mouthwash or mints.

What causes halitosis?

There are a number of reasons people may experience bad breath, but these issues may accentuate the problem.

Dental Health Problems

One of the main causes of halitosis is actually other dental issues. Cavities and gum disease cause bacteria to settle in your mouth. Those bacteria are difficult to remove from just brushing and flossing.

Dry Mouth

Caused by some medications, some medical conditions, excessive caffeine, alcohol or tobacco, dry mouth is a common reason for halitosis. Saliva is a pretty essential element to your overall dental health, your breath included. It helps rinse and remove unwanted food from your mouth and also contains disease-fighting substances to prevent infections and cavities.


Not only are tobacco products a known carcinogen, they’re also terrible for your teeth, gums and mouth. They leave behind their odor, but also dry out your mouth and can cause gum disease – two things that add to halitosis.

Infections and Chronic Conditions

When you’re sick, the buildup of mucus will generally cause your breath to be particularly smelly, but this will likely subside as the sickness goes away. Chronic conditions like acid reflux, diabetes and liver or kidney disease, however, can also cause halitosis.

What can you do?

For starters, a solid dental care routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing is a great way to prevent or lower your chances of getting halitosis. Keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water and cutting back on caffeine will also help.

If you notice persistent bad breath, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist to explore the issue. With a proper, professional dental exam, a dentist can better understand whether or not it really is halitosis, and what may be the cause.

Our friendly staff is always here to help keep your smile looking and feeling its best, and that includes your breath! Schedule your next dental examination by calling our offices in Glendale/Fox Point (414.352.1600) or Greendale (414.421.2303) today!

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