Harvard Men's Health Watch

Halitosis

Q. When I awaken in the morning, I have terrible bad breath. My breath seems okay during the rest of the day, but I worry about developing halitosis. What causes bad breath?

A. Bad breath is a common problem, especially first thing in the morning ("morning breath"), but also during the day (halitosis).

Foods can cause bad breath; garlic (the "stinking rose") and onions are classic examples. Reflux of stomach contents can do the same, as can serious diseases of the liver or kidneys. Infections of the tonsils, sinuses, or respiratory tract can also be responsible for bad breath. But the usual culprits are oral bacteria.

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