ZocdocAnswersWhat causes halitosis?

Question

What causes halitosis?

I'm starting to think I have halitosis. I'm a 52 year old woman and have a bad taste in my mouth and can smell my breath sometimes. What could have caused this and how can it be treated?

Answer

One of the most common causes of halitosis, or bad breath, is problems with the teeth. For example, if you have multiple tooth cavities, or if you have an infection of the gums, then going to see a dentist and getting these problems sorted out, as well as engaging in regular brushing and flossing, will be a big help. Another common problem is sinus infections or nasal allergies, both of which cause dripping of mucus down the back of the throat, leading to bad breath. If you have nasal congestion or sinus pressure, going to see your doctor about this to get prescriptions for medications to relieve the swelling and clear out the congestion will also likely help your bad breath. Acid reflux disease (heartburn) is also associated with bad breath. If you experience frequent heartburn, this would be another area of potential treatment to focus on with your doctor. Finally, there are a few serious medical conditions that can be associated with bad breath, especially certain cancers and liver disease. Although this is unlikely to be going on in your case without additional symptoms, having regular annual checkups with your primary care doctor is a great way to screen for serious problems.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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