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Halitosis is a word that was coined from a Latin root word and a Greek suffix. We will examine the meaning of the word halitosis, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Halitosis is a word that means bad breath, an unpleasant smell or fetid odor coming from one’s mouth. There are many causes of bad breath or halitosis due to the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Dental problems including a build up of plaque or tartar on teeth and gums, cavities or tooth decay, periodontal or gum disease known as gingivitis, dentures, or an abscess may cause a foul breath. To cure bad breath from these causes, practice good oral hygiene and brush your teeth, gargle, use a tongue scraper and engage in flossing to promote good oral health. Chronic bad breath may be caused by medication, causing a bad taste in one’s mouth as well as a foul odor. Another common cause of halitosis is dry mouth, which is a lack of saliva caused by many temporary and permanent conditions. Tobacco use and smoking contribute to this disorder, causing embarrassing chronic bad breath that many try to get rid of by chewing sugarless gum or mints containing chlorophyll. Foods that cause halitosis include garlic, onions and tuna fish, which may usually be alleviated by brushing the teeth and tongue and using a mouthwash. A medical condition may cause halitosis, including kidney and liver disease, a respiratory tract or sinus infection or chronic sinusitis, a post nasal drip, bronchitis, diabetes, an infection of the tonsils or tonsil stones, thrush, stomach problems such as ulcers caused by i. pylori, and many other health problems. The word halitosis was coined in 1874 by Dr. Joseph William Howe in his book The Breath, and the Diseases Which Give It a Fetid Odor. The term was popularized by the Listerine company in the 1920s. Listerine is an antiseptic mouth rinse invented in the 1880s, though it became well-known in the 1920s when the company began marketing the product as a cure for halitosis. The word halitosis was coined from the Latin word halitus which exhalation or breath, and the Greek suffix -osis which means a diseased state.


Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be more than just embarrassing — it can affect a person’s work performance, especially in the hospitality industry. (The Nikkei Asian Review)

‘They feast on proteins from food, mucus and blood, releasing smelly sulphur compounds from your tongue and throat,’ explains Dr Harold Katz, a dentist and halitosis expert. (The Mirror)

“Dehydration can cause halitosis because bacteria that live in the mouth tend to multiply as the mouth dries out,” says Dr. Harold Katz, a dentist, bacteriologist and founder of The Breath Company (who knows a thing or two about the subject). (Cosmopolitan Magazine)

Researchers from UltraDex One Go questioned 2,000 adults and discovered 63pc of them had cut a conversation short at work because of a co-worker’s breath, with one in five admitting they ‘can’t bear’ to talk to a particular colleague because of their halitosis (the official term for bad breath). (The Telegraph)