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Is it Halitosis or Something Else?

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Do you have halitosis? Scott Griessel/Creatista/PhotoSpin

Have you ever walked up to someone and as soon as he or she starts talking, wished you could hand him/her a breath mint or piece of gum without seeming rude?

Regardless of whether it is a social, professional, or personal relationship, oral health is crucial in building positive connections.

As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath, according to WebMD.

Certain foods may increase bad breath. Garlic and onions are known culprits in the bad breath battle, but according to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, any food that becomes “absorbed into the bloodstream, become transferred into the lungs, and are expelled in the air you breathe. Until that food becomes eliminated by the body, it has the potential to affect a person's breath.”

Even if these foods are avoided, bad breath may still be present. Other oral health issues such as gingivitis or periodontal disease may cause halitosis.

Periodontal disease’s main symptoms are a “foul, odorous breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This condition requires immediate care by an oral health professional,” according to the Ohio State University medical website.

Xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth, may cause bad breath, too. This condition may occur if the salivary glands are not producing enough saliva. Bacteria are then able to cultivate in the mouth and produce a smelly odor.

Some people experience bad breath as a result of a health condition or a medication they are taking. It can be a result of a respiratory infection, diabetes, or kidney or liver issues.

If the above-mentioned reasons are not the cause of the foul breath, tobacco might be the reason. Tobacco can cause mouth irritation, gum disease, oral cancer, not to mention stained teeth and a loss in our mouth's ability to sense taste.

A dentist or another oral health specialist can suggest and prescribe several treatments, such as a particular mouthwashes, dental cleanings, or he/she may simply suggest brushing the tongue as part of the brushing routine.

While bad breath can be caused by a number of health conditions, it is important to maintain one’s oral health. Brushing your teeth after every meal, in addition to flossing on a daily basis, may reduce the risk for bad breath.

Seeing a dentist at least once a year, if not more, should be routine to ensure that dental health is good. If bad breath persists, an additional visit with your dentist may be in order.


"Bad Breath Causes, Treatments, and Prevention." WebMD. WebMD, 03 Jan. 0000. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.

"Halitosis." Halitosis. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Dec. 2012. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.

Reviewed March 6, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have had bad breath, lost my job due to it. Tried to find a new job but it's very hard once you stink up the office. I had tonsil stones and awful bad breath. My friend told me to check Oraltech Labs as it got rid of his bad breath and his post nasal drip. I've been following Oraltech Labs bad breath cure program for about 2 weeks now and I feel much better, also people are not avoiding me anymore so it seems to have cured my bad breath as well:-)

March 7, 2013 - 9:03pm
EmpowHER Guest


March 7, 2013 - 8:41pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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