When your breath smells

Monday May 10 2021
By Dr Trevor Kwagala

Bad breath is one of the commonest dental conditions. Almost everyone at some point in their lives will suffer from some kind of bad breath. Bad breath can be thought of as either a normal type, an abnormal type, or a “weird” type (which we call pseudo halitosis). 

Normal halitosis is experienced in the morning when one has just woken up and it fades away relatively quickly after that. The weird type is when someone thinks they have bad breath but the dentist fails to detect it at all. The abnormal/disease related/pathological type is one that causes most concern.  It can be related to body organs including the nose, mouth, throat, chest and stomach.  

Nose: Chronic nasal diseases (chronic sinusitis) can be a big cause of bad breath.

Mouth: Causes could be cavities in teeth, calculus (kaboole), gum disease, oral cancer.

Throat: Here, the cause many be an enlarged tonsils that trap food, throat infections and tonsil stones, among others.

Chest: Causes include lung diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, lung cancer. 


Stomach: Here, causes could be acid reflux (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) or ulcers. Other causes include liver and kidney diseases.

Habits: These include smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, diets high in garlic, forgetting to floss, and poor brushing technique.

Caution: The first stage in understanding how to manage bad breath is by taking note of what the possible causes are. The above list is not exhaustive, so feel free to read more on it. For more information on halitosis, visit our website at www.ugadent.org