Halitosis, also known as fetor oris, refers to the symptom of foul oral odor, commonly termed "bad breath". This may be a complaint in the context of dental services.



It is thought to be caused by the presence of volatile sulfur compounds that are produced by bacteria. The underlying cause is most commonly poor dental hygiene, however a range of non-dental etiologies are less commonly responsible, including respiratory tract infection, liver failure, and renal disease, as well as the presence of a pharyngeal pouch.

Practical points

Halitosis does not require imaging on its own but imaging may be undertaken if there are other symptoms which raise the suspicion of an underlying cause other than bacterial overgrowth. This is usually in the form of a barium swallow or other fluoroscopic investigation.

Article information

rID: 39521
System: Head & Neck
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Foetor oris
  • Fetor oris

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewers/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.