Halitosis – causes and treatment

Halitosis, also known as bad breath or oral malodour, is a term used to describe noticeably unpleasant odour coming from the mouth or respiratory system. This condition is reported to affect about 25 % of the population on a daily basis. Morning bad breath, experienced by many upon waking in the morning, most likely due to local oral conditions, is usually only a temporary problem that can be easily prevented or treated. However, some cases of halitosis, especially those associated with extra-oral causes, can be more chronic and can adversely affect a person’s social and work situation. Dental health workers regularly meet patients who either complain of bad breath or have halitosis without being aware of the situation. Knowledge of the usual causes of halitosis and treatment methods for oral malodour should therefore be mandatory. In this short overview, the most common physiological and pathological oral causes of halitosis will be described, as simple preventiv and treatment strategies well as possible extra-oral causes. The overview will present simple, preventive, and treatment strategies with a focus on the oral cavity.