Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Do You Have Halitosis? Learn The Symptoms, Causes, And How To Diagnose It

Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is when your mouth has a very foul odor. It can be a problem that lasts a short while or a long time in extreme situations, typically due to the bacteria that collects in your mouth and on your tongue. Know the symptoms, causes, and how to diagnose halitosis to better understand your bad breath.

Causes of Halitosis

A common cause of halitosis is not practicing proper dental hygiene. For example, not brushing or flossing regularly can cause food to become lodged between teeth, leading to decay. Continuing to ignore your oral health can eventually lead to gum disease, which can also cause bad breath. Cavities and various oral infections have the potential to cause halitosis as well.

Be aware of external sources that can cause your bad breath. Your body may digest certain foods, like onions or garlic, in a way that causes bad breath to loom for a long time. Chewing tobacco and cigarettes can leave a nasty odor as well due to the carcinogens that convey fragrance.

Other reasons include dry mouth, which is related to it being a problem with the salivary glands.


It's unfortunate, but the person that has halitosis is often the last to notice it. This is because the cells in your nose that detect odor get used to it over time, which makes it difficult to realize there is a problem. While bad breath is a key sign, there are additional symptoms that can give you a signal that you should be concerned.

Oral Infections

  • Swollen or red gums that easily bleed
  • Any pus that forms between your teeth
  • Teeth that are loose, or dentures that fit differently
  • Sores on your gums or tongue that are painful

Respiratory Tract Infections

  • Sore throat
  • Lymph nodes that are swollen
  • Fever
  • Coughing that contains mucus
  • Yellow or green nasal discharge

Dry Mouth

  • Burning sensation in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry eyes
  • Problems with speaking


If you have experienced any of these signs, a dentist, like Chen Sharon DMD PC, or physician can officially diagnose the problem for you. While it can be diagnosed by smell alone, tests will be performed to rule out the potential of kidney disease or uncontrolled diabetes if you are high risk of either of those things. If the cause is determined, expect to visit a specialist that can help treat the problem so you get rid of it for good.