Bad breath ( Halitosis )

Normally, bad breath is a product of bacterial accumulation in the mouth and between the teeth, or food debris around the gums and tongue, which in turn triggers the flowering of bacteria in the mouth that cause periodontal disease, thus suffering , this evil.

In a person with a healthy mouth, cell debris passes into saliva and is swallowed and digested quickly, so that bacteria do not have time to perform their rotten action and halitosis does not occur. Saliva lubricates and oxygenates the oral cavity and has antimicrobial properties, therefore, the quantity and quality of saliva are important. The bad smell is also related to the density and characteristics of the bacteria present in the tongue and in the oral cavity.

Within the types of Halitosis we find two large groups:

Oral halitosis (90% of cases)

It comes from the oral cavity itself. In 41% of cases of oral origin it is mainly due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque on the tongue. It may also be caused by other situations such as; poor oral hygiene, periodontal problems, dental caries, smoking habit, among others.

Extraoral halitosis (10% of cases)

It originates outside the oral cavity. It is mainly due to systemic disorders of the upper / lower respiratory tract, digestive system, as well as liver or kidney diseases, stress, among others.


The main causes can be:

Non pathological:
  • Morning breath.
  • Changes with age.
  • Dental prostheses.
  • Drugs.
  • Tobacco.
  • Fasting periods or hypocaloric diets.
  • Ingestion of some foods (onion, garlic) or alcohol consumption.

alt+Bad breath

  • Periodontal disease and other diseases of the periodontium such as Necritizing Gingivitis.
  • Ulcers or stomatitis.
  • Viral, bacterial or fungal infections in the pharynx.
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy necrosis in patients with neoplasms.
  • Among others, the causes of extraoral Halitosis can be: Nasal (sinusitis), digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, systemic diseases (diabetes, kidney infection, liver dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.).


In general, Halitosis is difficult to diagnose, since it is unlikely that you will detect your own bad breath. However, the help of a dental professional can contribute to the diagnosis.


Oral Medicine is a branch of Dentistry that is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the oral cavity, both of the diseases that originate in their tissues, and of the affectation caused by general diseases in the structures of the cavity oral and in the stomatognathic apparatus.


At the Dental Clinic Dávalos & Balboa, in Murcia, we are specialists in the early diagnosis and in the treatment of pathologies and diseases of the oral mucosa, which can be precursors of very serious diseases, such as oral cancer.




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