What Is Halitosis?


Halitosis is bad breath. So next time someone asks you for “a cure for halitosis”, you can pass them a piece of gum. Or a toothbrush, some toothpaste, and some mouthwash. Maybe some mint garnish. Whatever you have handy.


All joking aside, chronic bad breath can have some serious repercussions. For one, bad breath can make you anxious – either because you’re worried about how other people will react, or because of how they actually react. Halitosis can also be a sign of underlying health problems. We’re going to look at the two kinds of halitosis, what can cause halitosis, and what we can do to treat it.


How bad is your breath, really?

The two kinds of halitosis are pretty straightforward: genuine halitosis, and non-genuine halitosis.


Genuine halitosis is bad breath that other people can smell. Non-genuine halitosis is bad breath that other people can’t smell. That’s not to say non-genuine halitosis isn’t severe – if you constantly feel like you’ve got bad breath, it’s not a pleasant experience. That said, the dental remedies for non-genuine halitosis aren’t as clear cut, so we’re going to focus on genuine halitosis for the rest of this article.


What causes halitosis?

There are a variety of different causes for halitosis – anything connected to your mouth, from your sinuses to your stomach, can contribute to bad breath. Most halitosis, however, is caused by the mouth itself – biofilm on the tongue, advanced periodontal (gum) disease, and food caught in cavities can all give you bad breath. The types of food you eat throughout the day can, of course, contribute to the odour of your mouth, too.


Most other causes of halitosis are uncommon. Conditions like GERD and sinus infections can contribute to bad breath, but these conditions are both less common in the general population and less commonly the cause of bad breath than the aforementioned oral health problems.


How is halitosis treated?

Halitosis can be masked with relative ease in some cases – see our above “cures for halitosis” joke for some examples. This masking isn’t treatment, however.


Getting rid of halitosis means eliminating the underlying condition – halitosis is a symptom of some other problem. The treatment, then, depends on the condition causing halitosis. In cases where it’s caused by cavities and gum disease, a good old fashioned cleaning from a hygienist followed by fillings from your dentist should do the trick. 


Rarely, halitosis isn’t caused by any readily identifiable problem – some people just collect too much biofilm on their tongues. This can be resolved, in part, by improving your oral healthcare routine. Should more efficient and frequent brushing and flossing not solve the problem, specialized mouthwashes may be recommended.


Maybe you want to cure your halitosis, and you’re looking to get a dental check-up in Winnipeg to figure out what’s going on. Get in touch with us! We can help.