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What is Halitosis? What are clinical treatments and home remedies?

What is halitosis? What are clinical treatments and home remedies? Halitosis is a condition in which an unpleasant odor emanates out of the mouth. It is also termed as ‘bad breath’. Halitosis is always a serious concern for anyone as it is a cause of social embarrassment. It may leave a patient isolated from his/her community or even stigmatized.

Almost every person experiences bad breath in his lifetime. If you ever get halitosis, there isn’t any kind of need to be embarrassed. You should know that halitosis can be medically treated by a dentist.

In this article, you will be able to know more about halitosis along with the clinical treatments and home remedies.

What exactly is halitosis?

Halitosis word is derived from two Latin words, halitus meaning ‘breath’ and osis meaning ‘pathological process’. In defining terms, halitosis is the exhalation of a bad-smelling odor out of the mouth. This undesirable condition is a common complaint of almost every person of all age groups. Although it may seem a trivial state, yet it may cause some serious psychological and social disturbances.1

Causes of Halitosis

Bad breath occurs due to the production of gases of volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and dimethyl sulfide etc. There are many known conditions that play a role in the production of such unpleasant gases. Some of those conditions are enlisted below:

  • Lack of salivary flow during sleep: Many known conditions cause decreased or no salivary secretions. Physiologically, saliva does not flow during sleep. So, the putrefaction of substances occurs, causing bad breath.
  • Smoking: Those persons who smoke really exhale the foul-smelling breath out of their mouths. It is because of the deteriorating substances present in cigarette smoke.2
  • Substandard dental hygiene: Bacteria are present normally in your oral cavity. They continuously break down the food you eat. Improper brushing of teeth causes food entrapment in between the teeth, and thus, the decay of this food causes unpleasant odor production.
  • Dental Diseases: There are many certain dental conditions which cause dental decay and they then play a role in the development of halitosis.3

How can halitosis be diagnosed?

Usually, a person can diagnose halitosis by himself. Put your hand in front of your mouth and then exhale. You should be able to smell your breath. If the breath is stinking, you probably have halitosis. Mostly halitosis diagnosis is made by a dentist whenever the person goes for a routine checkup. Your dentist may ask you relevant questions about lifestyle, brushing and flossing, etc.

Clinical Treatment of Halitosis

Due to the advancements in clinical medicine, there are many known clinical treatments available to treat halitosis. Your dentist or doctor can use the relevant method according to your halitosis condition. Some of those treatments are spotlighted below:

  • Debridement of Dental Biofilms: Poor dental hygiene is one of the most common causes of bad breath. Debridement of the food particles and dental biofilms may prevent halitosis occurrence.
  • Use of Mouth Rinses: The effective control of halitosis is done by mouth rinses. They are chemicals that effectively inhibit the production of sulfur gases.
  • Treatment of Oral Diseases: Many oral diseases lay an egg in the formation of unpleasant breath. Treating such diseases definitely cease halitosis. 
  • Teeth Cleaning: Teeth cleaning process is common nowadays and mostly every person goes to the dentist for teeth cleaning. One way to prevent halitosis and maintain dental health is through this process.4

Home Remedies of Halitosis

Several home remedies are advised by dentists to their halitosis patients. The most effective of those remedies are listed under:

  • Teeth brushing after meals: Brushing after every meal prevents food entrapment in between the teeth. This would further help in dental hygiene and halitosis obviation.
  • Tongue brushing: Brushing tongue is equally important to brushing teeth because your tongue harbors many bacteria that decay food and produce foul-smelling gases. Using a toothbrush with built-in tongue cleaner would be best.5
  • Use of mint toothpaste: Usage of mint toothpaste helps mask the unpleasant smell coming out of the mouth.
  • Increased fluid intake: It is highly recommended to increase fluid intake to those patients who have decreased production of salivary secretions. Do not keep your mouth dry and this will help a lot in refreshing your breath.6

The Bottom Line

The conclusion is that you must always keep your mouth hygiene. Try to avoid those factors that accelerate halitosis occurrence. Home Remedies are best to avoid such factors. If you find that you have bad breath, go and consult your dentist. Seek medical care and treatment. A regular check-up can find many ongoing ailments and problems such as dry mouth, gum diseases, and infections, etc. So, if you are disturbed socially due to halitosis, always remember that medicine is always there to help you.


1.        Aylıkcı, B. U. & Colak, H. Halitosis: From diagnosis to management. J. Nat. Sci. Biol. Med. 4, 14–23 (2013).

2.        Attia, E. L. & Marshall, K. G. Halitosis. Can. Med. Assoc. J. 126, 1281–1285 (1982).

3.        What Causes Bad Breath? - Halitosis | familydoctor.org. https://familydoctor.org/condition/halitosis/.

4.        Examination, Classification, and Treatment of Halitosis; Clinical Perspectives. https://www.cda-adc.ca/jcda/vol-66/issue-5/257.html.

5.        Dental Association, A. ADA.org: For the Dental Patient: Bad breath - Causes and tips for controlling it. http://jada.ada.org (2012).

6.        Halitosis - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534859/.

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