Bad Breath (Halitosis)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

What signs and symptoms may be associated with bad breath?

It is generally simple how to tell if you have bad breath. Others may notice someone has halitosis before the person does, so another person may tell him or her about their bad breath or give them a larger than normal personal space. The most obvious sign or symptom of bad breath is noticing an unpleasant smell coming from the mouth.

Other signs and symptoms of bad breath include

  • unpleasant or sour taste or changes in taste,
  • dry mouth, and
  • a coating on the tongue.

When should someone see a health care professional about bad breath?

If proper oral hygiene does not get rid of bad breath, see a dentist or doctor for a diagnosis if bad breath is accompanied by

Also see a doctor or dentist if bad breath develops after taking a new medication, after recent dental surgery, or any other symptoms develop that are of concern.

What health care specialists treat halitosis?

The first stop when you have halitosis is usually your dentist. If your dentist determines you have a healthy mouth, you will likely be referred to a physician to look for an underlying health problem.

If you have periodontal disease, you may see a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in gum disease and dental implants.

If you have braces, it's like that your bad breath is caused by food getting stuck in them. You may see your orthodontist for an adjustment.

Bad breath in babies or young children may be a sign of infection or undiagnosed medical problems. Consult a child's pediatrician or dentist if an infant or young child has bad breath.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2017
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