Skip to main content

Which Doctors May Treat Bad Breath?

For those who suffer from chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, a home oral-care routine may not be enough to combat odor. Even if you are maintaining an effective oral-hygiene routine of brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums and flossing after every meal or snack, you may still be experiencing bad breath. If this is the case, you should see a doctor or a dentist.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, over 90% of bad breath cases are linked to issues in the mouth, throat, and tonsils. As a result, seeing a dentist is often the wisest option to treat chronic bad breath. Your dentist can perform regular cleanings and exams, and he or she can also conduct further tests to ascertain what parts of your mouth are contributing to bad breath. Generally, your dentist is able to treat the causes of your bad breath. If he or she determines that your mouth is healthy and not responsible for bad breath, your dentist may refer you to your family doctor or to a specialist for treatment.

Alternatively, another illness such as diabetes, cancer, or a respiratory infection can lead to symptoms involving bad breath. For cases like these, you should see your primary healthcare provider to diagnose and treat these underlying causes of unpleasant oral odor. Sometimes medications are to blame for causing bad breath. If you suspect this may be the case, ask your prescribing physician if the medication can be adjusted or if he or she can suggest other options.

Bad breath in infants or young children may indicate an infection or an undiagnosed medical issue. In these cases, consult your child's pediatrician or dentist as soon as possible. For adults and children, taking proper care of your teeth and visiting the dentist at least twice a year are the simplest ways to avoid bad breath and other oral-health concerns.

Main symptoms of halitosis (bad breath)

Bad breath or halitosis is a common oral disease that affects many people worldwide. Often, bad breath results from poor oral-health habits and can signal other health conditions as well.

The symptoms of bad breath are fairly straightforward. Most patients exhibit persistent oral odor or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Although bad breath is common, its effects can be serious, as halitosis is a form of oral disease that can accompany additional and more-severe health concerns. To make matters worse, individuals are not always aware that they suffer from bad breath, as odor-detecting cells in the nose acclimate to the constant barrage of bad smells from the mouth.

Bad breath odors can vary, depending on the oral source (e.g. tongue or gums) and any underlying medical conditions. Based on the oral source of the odor, additional complications and symptoms may accompany halitosis. For example, poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay and gum disease from accumulated debris, which forms a thick, whitish plaque that can cause bad breath and prolonged inflammation. If inflammation continues, it can lead to long-term swelling, bleeding, pus drainage, loose teeth, and extensive damage to tissue and bone in the mouth.

Contributing conditions such as respiratory tract infections, systemic illnesses like diabetes, and harmful habits like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption are associated with other features in addition to bad breath. For example, those who suffer from dry mouth caused by medication or inadequate water intake can also experience difficulty speaking, dry eyes, and issues with swallowing.

If you have bad breath, first review your oral-hygiene habits. Ensure that you are maintaining an effective routine of brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or snack, using dental floss, and rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. Additional lifestyle changes are also helpful, such as quitting smoking, limiting your consumption of alcoholic beverages, and drinking plenty of water. See your dentist for regular cleanings and exams at least twice a year and to address any lingering effects of bad breath.

>> Get instant access <<