Halitosis in Teenagers

The teenage years can be awkward, ranging from sudden bodily changes during puberty to dating for the first time. Halitosis, or bad breath, can put a damper on a teenager's social life 1. If mints and gum aren't working for your teenager, it may be time to investigate the underlying causes of her bad breath 12.


Teenagers who have halitosis are likely to find that bad breath persists shortly after eating mints or chewing gum, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Attempts to cover up bad breath tend to work only for the short term 1. Teenagers may become self-conscious in social situations, using a hand to cover their mouths when they talk.


Your teenager's bad breath could be caused by several problems, according to the American Dental Association 13. Improper care of the teeth, like irregular brushing and flossing habits, could cause bad breath 1. Your teen may also need to look no further than his own plate to find out the source of his bad breath: onions and garlic are primary culprits 1. Illness and dry mouth may also cause halitosis, according to the Women's and Children's Health Network. Other factors, like high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, diabetes and smoking may also contribute to bad breath 1.


The long-term solution to better breath is to pick up your toothbrush at least twice a day, and preferably after every meal, according to the American Dental Association 3. Flossing at least once per day, usually at the end of the night, can also help, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Teens may want to finish off their oral hygiene routine by swishing antiseptic mouthwash, according to KidsHealth. Avoiding foods that are common causes of bad breath, drinking plenty of water and treating any underlying health conditions that may also cause bad breath may relieve halitosis symptoms 12.

Additional Information

Some cases of bad breath persist even when teenagers make lifestyle adjustments 1. If your teen is still concerned about her bad breath, make an appointment with her doctor 1. A doctor can evaluate your daughter's eating and oral hygiene habits, as well as run any tests, if necessary, to determine if she has an underlying health condition causing halitosis.