This is the presence of unpleasant breath odour. It is also know as halitosis, it could affect the self-esteem of the affected individual. However, a good number of cases are not genuine ( not real ). Kind of odd though, but the bad breath that is not noticed by others might not be real.

In practice, I encounter individuals who believe strongly that they have foul breath but on examination, most of them turn out not to be real. Find out from your spouse, partner, or close friend if you have a foul breath to put your mind at ease.

That said, some persons indeed have foul breath, which is 85% of the time caused by issue arising from the mouth.The dentist can help in 85% of cases. Other specialists include ENT surgeon, psychiatrist gastroenterologist, etc

Symptoms of bad breath

The main symptom of bad breath is foul breath, others are;

  • Fur tongue
  • swollen tonsil
  • Extrinsic teeth discoloration

Some Causes of Bad Breath

  • Poor oral hygiene resulting in the accumulation of plaque and tartars.
  • Crooked teeth that retain food.
  • Partially erupted tooth/teeth.
  • Tooth/teeth decay.
  • Hole in your teeth that retain food.
  • Poorly done dental fillings and restoration.
  • Ill-fitting denture, crown and bridge.
  • Gum disease.
  • Plaque coated tongue.
  • Inactive mouth ie not chewing, and talking for a long time.
  • Fasting.

Other causes are:

  • Chronic sinusitis.
  • Chronic lungs, liver and kidney diseases.
  • Patent oesophagus.
  • Eating garlic or onions
  • Psychological causes
  • Dry mouth
  • Smoking
  • Swollen tonsil
  • Unknown causes

When to see a dentist

Consult a dentist when the bad breath starts affecting your social interactions, relationships, and your self-esteem. Seek urgent help if the bad breath is associated with other medical symptoms like coughing, heartburn, nasal discharge abdominal pain, etc.

Risk factors

  • Smoking
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Oral ulcer
  • HIV infection
  • Oral trauma
  • Gum disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis and Herpes


  • Toothache
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Mobile teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Oroantral fistula
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Difficulty breathing


  • Routine oral check-ups
  • Regularly flossing of teeth
  • Brushing twice daily
  • Scaling and polishing every 6 months
  • Avoiding smoking

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