Bad Breath

People covering bad breath

Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis or oral malodor, is a mouth health issue.

Breath odor, can leave people feeling isolated and embarrassed.  Social interactions can become very stressful and reduce the affected person’s self confidence.

Often times people with halitosis can be completely unaware of the fact that their breath stinks.

Our breath odor is created by the emission of a variety of volatile and non-volatile molecules. The composition of these molecules in the breath of an individual is influenced by diet, disease, genetics and even stress.

Halitus is the Latin word for breath.  Thus, halitosis is a disagreeable or unpleasant odor in the breath.

Most people at some point in time will exhibit some form of bad breath.  This is usually transient though.

Oral malodor can even be categorized.  Some scientists created the categories genuine halitosis, psuedo-halitosis and halitophobia.

Genuine halitosis is a longstanding and often severe form on oral malodor and is further broken down into the classification of physiologic and pathologic halitosis.  Pathologic halitosis is subclassified into oral and extraoral halitosis.

Pseudo-halitosis and halitophobia are people who believe they have bad breath but don’t really have any oral malodor.  The difference is that a dentist can treat psuedo-halitosis while halitophobia requires more professional psychological intervention.

Halitosis Classification

  • Genuine Halitosis
    • Pathologic
      • Oral
      • Extraoral
    • Physiologic
  • Psuedo-halitosis
  • Halitophobia

Bad breath in the morning when waking up is very common but it is not truly halitosis.

Depending on the cause and severity of halitosis, treatments can range from simple lifestyle changes to much more serious disease interventions.

Mild, short-term halitosis can usually be treated with diet interventions, mouth rinses and proper oral hygiene.  In fact, poor or improper oral hygiene is the most likely and common cause of breath malodor.  Poor oral hygiene leads to gingival and periodontal inflammation and disease.  These oral health issues further exacerbate bad breath.

More severe cases of halitosis require more serious interventions treating the underlying pathological causes of the condition.

To learn more about other embarrassing health issues please visit our Embarrassing Health Conditions page.