Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. Halitosis may be caused by poor oral hygiene, dental problems, sinus infection, and foods like onion and garlic. Medications that make your mouth dry can also lead to bad breath. In children thumb sucking may also be a cause. Sour breath in the morning from reduced saliva flow is normal. This sour breath should go away after eating, drinking or brushing. Poor dental care from infrequent brushing and flossing is the most common reason for bad breath. Halitosis from tooth decay and gum or sinus infections requires ongoing treatment by a dentist or doctor. A dental cleaning and filling cavities may also be necessary.

Mild cases of halitosis will improve with good dental hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and use floss once a day. Ask your dentist or dental assistant to show you proper brushing and flossing technique. This is the most important part of treatment. Brushing your tongue may also help improve your breath. Mouth washes and breath mints offer only temporary benefit. Bad breath in children from thumb sucking will improve when they give up the habit.

See your caregiver or dentist if you need further dental care or have signs of an infection in your mouth.