Bad breath; Halitosis
Use proper dental hygiene (especially flossing), and remember that mouthwashes are not effective in treating the underlying problem.
Fresh parsley or a strong mint are often effective ways to fight temporary bad breath. Avoid smoking. Otherwise, follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
Call your health care provider if
- Breath odor persists and there is not an obvious cause (such as smoking or eating odor-causing foods).
- You have breath odor and signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or face pain with discharge from the nose
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.
You may be asked the following medical history questions:
- Is there a specific odor?
- Is there a fishy smell?
- Does the breath smell like ammonia or urine?
- Does the breath smell like fruit or is there a sweet-chemical smell?
- Does the breath smell like feces?
- Does the breath smell like alcohol?
- Have you recently eaten a spicy meal, garlic, cabbage, or other "odorous" food?
- Do you take vitamin supplements?
- Do you smoke?
- Does good oral hygiene improve the odor?
- What home care measures have you tried? How effective are they?
- Is there a recent sore throat, sinus infection, tooth abscess, or other illness?
- What other symptoms do you have?
The physical examination will include a thorough examination of the mouth and the nose. A
In rare cases, diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
- Blood tests to screen for diabetes or kidney failure
- Endoscopy (
EGD) X-ray of the abdomen X-ray of the chest
Antibiotics may be prescribed for some conditions. For an object in the nose, the doctor will use an instrument to remove it.
Review Date: 02/22/2010
Reviewed By: Jack D Rosenberg, DDS, Advanced Dental Care, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, M.D., MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.