Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. But unlike typical bad breath, the kind you might experience in the morning or after drinking coffee, halitosis is more persistent and doesn’t go away on its own. There are several causes of halitosis, and addressing the cause is imperative in eradicating it.

Causes of halitosis 

Gum disease

Gum disease may be the number one cause of halitosis. Gum disease is an excess accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and gums, contributing to bleeding, inflammation, recession and even tooth loss. Many adults experience some degree of gum disease, ranging from mild gingivitis to severe periodontitis

Cavities/ tooth infection 

Cavities and infections contain many bacteria, so there can be an odour. If a cavity is large, it may produce more of an odour. Cavities can also spread from one tooth to another due to bacteria. When an infection causes an abscess, it will lead to an unpleasant taste and odour. 

Dry mouth 

A dry mouth may result from many different causes, including medication, alcohol use, medical conditions and dehydration. When there is less salivary flow, the mouth lacks its natural ability to self-cleanse, which can contribute to odours. Dry mouth is also referred to as xerostomia.

Gastrointestinal conditions 

Conditions such as acid reflux, diabetes and liver disease can contribute to halitosis. This can be due to stomach acid entering the mouth or an imbalance of hormones and sugars. 

Throat and nose infections

Infections of the throat and nose can create bacteria accumulation due to increased mucus and lead to post-nasal drip. Increased bacteria will cause halitosis. 

Plaque on tongue 

Your tongue is a rough surface containing many taste buds, called papilla. Bacteria or plaque bacteria can easily accumulate in the grooves and valleys of your tongue, contributing to halitosis. 

Prevention of Bad Breath

Because many conditions cause halitosis, prevention will largely depend on the cause. Listed below are ways to eliminate, reduce and even prevent halitosis: 

  • Stay hydrated 
  • Reduce/eliminate alcohol consumption and smoking 
  • Visit your dentist and dental hygienist routinely for check-ups and cleanings 
  • Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once a day 
  • Use a CDA approved mouth wash 
  • See your doctor if you are experiencing a nose or throat infection, or acid reflux 

If you have questions about halitosis, please book an appointment with us today.

dentistry by dr sferlazza white logo

Beautiful Smiles Start Here!


3985 Grand Park Dr h, Mississauga, ON L5B 0H8