Bad Breath – Malodor – Halitosis

Do I have bad breath? Bad Breath Questionnaire

Dr. Elliot Davis and his staff are highly qualified to and routinely treat all forms of bad breath (oral malodor or halitosis). For chronic bad breath that is due to gum and bone problems, the board certified periodontist and Dr. Davis often confer and design a regimen that will not only eliminate the problem, but reduce the likelihood of it returning. For chronic bad breath problems that are due to abscesses, oral infections, medications or severely compromised teeth, the doctors determine an efficient course of action that will quickly eliminate the cause of the problem.

Bad Breath Questionnaire


More than half of the adult population has reported that they presently have or have had in the past halitosis (bad breath). The most likely culprit of bad breath is unwanted bacteria in your mouth. Some bacteria and their waste products can cause plaque by clinging to the tongue, teeth, gums and/or bone around the teeth, while other bacteria can eat away at healthy tooth structure, causing tooth decay (cavities). While there is no one cause of bad breath, most unpleasant odors are known to arise from food debris, bacteria and their waste products trapped in the mouth. Over 600 types of bacteria found in the average mouth. While most bacteria are good for us, some bacteria are not so good.

Bad Breath: Causes

  • Alcohol
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Infection
  • Stomach Illnesses
  • Tooth Abscess
  • Gastric Based Issues
  • Medicines
  • Supplements
  • Vitamins
  • Dentures
  • Inadequate Oral Hygiene
  • Smokeless Tobacco
  • Tobacco

Treating Bad Breath

The key element to treating and curing bad breath is determining the most likely cause. A thorough medical and dental health history review starts the process. Next is an in-depth examination. After the likely culprit is determined, appropriate treatment is started. If excessive plaque and calculus are evident, inadequate oral hygiene and infrequent professional dental treatments are likely problems. Dr. Davis will set up one or more sessions to provide periodontal treatments [usually non-surgical scaling and root planning], and then institute a regimen for you to follow at home to keep your mouth as clean and fresh as possible. Arch reformulation therapy can prudently reposition teeth to help the supporting bone and gums be more self-cleansing and make the mouth stronger.

Types of Bad Breath

  • Chronic Bad Breath – when there is a constant malodor emanating from your mouth
  • Transient Bad Breath – when a bad odor comes and goes.
  • Meal Breath – after eating a meal heavy in garlic and raw onions
  • Morning Breath – often due to a dry or stale oral condition
  • Medicine Breath – can occur after taking a pill or sucking on a zinc lozenge

When is it time to change my toothbrush?

Inadequate replacement of and insufficient cleaning of toothbrushes or toothbrush heads can contribute to bad breath. Most toothbrushes fall into one of two categories, manual and automated.

Manual Toothbrushes: easiest way to determine bristle wear:

Compare the new and used toothbrushes side-by-side.
If you have trouble telling the difference between them, continue using the present one
If there’s any noticeable difference between the bristles, start using the new brush.

Automatic Toothbrushes:

Frayed bristles? … replace with a new one

Power on the brush with the new head.
Remove new head and replace with present head.
Sounds the same, keep the present head.
Sounds different, use the new head

Recently had a cold or the flu?

Once you feel better, consider using a new toothbrush.
Consider these acceptable disinfection methods:
Place the brush in a secure holder in the top portion of a dishwasher.
Use an UV (ultraviolet) toothbrush sanitizer, follow the recommended time interval.
Dip the brush into hydrogen peroxide for a few seconds prior to applying toothpaste.

With proper use, a manual toothbrush can last 50-200 brushing sessions. Depending on how many times a day you brush your teeth, consider swapping your toothbrushes every 1.5 – 6 months.
If you feel you might have a malodor or bad breath, consider changing your toothbrush more frequently. If you notice your bristles starting to fray within the first few weeks of use, you may be brushing too hard. For confirmation, consider bringing your toothbrush to your next dentist visit.

Bottom Line:

There are many reasons why bad breath occurs. It’s important to treat malodor because very often there’s a serious dental problem that needs to be addressed. Finding that cause is the essential first step. Properly treating the problem will not just diminish, but often will eliminate halitosis.

Elliot Davis, D.D.S. [email protected]