All About Halitophobia, the Fear of Bad Breath, and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling

Halitophobia banner - woman cowering away from man with bad breath

What is Halitophobia?

Halitophobia is the Fear of Bad Breath and, like all other fears and phobias, can be a cause of significant anxiety and stress if you suffer from it.

You may have either a fear of bad breath in other people or the fear of having bad breath yourself.

There may be a number of reasons why you developed Halitophobia, for example:

  • You may have been accused of having bad breath in a highly embarassing situation.
  • You may be worried that bad breath in others is full of germs – Mysophobia.
  • You may be stressed by being unable to tell a loved-one that they have bad breath.

However, there is no valid scientific evidence that Halitophobia is the result of any kind of biological fault or chemical imbalance in spite of the credibility that the biomedical models of mental illness are given in the medical and psychiatric literature.

On the contrary, Halitophobia is much more likely to be the result of your own, subjective evaluation (meaning-making) of what happened to you and is therefore better described as a psychosocial phenomenon.

Common symptoms of Halitophobia

Halitophobia Symptoms & Behaviours

All phobias, including Halitophobia, create feelings of anxiety because phobic objects or situations are always perceived as a threat.

Consequently, the symptoms of Halitophobia are both specific and generic and may include:

  • Avoidance of people with Bad Breath.
  • Worrying that you have bad breath yourself.
  • An elevated heart rate.
  • A sense of dread about what might happen.
  • Worrying that you might pass out.
  • Feeling dizzy or disoriented.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Having a dry or sticky mouth.
  • Hot sweats.
  • Feeling Stressed.
  • Difficulty breathing easily.
  • Feelings of panic.

You may have all, some or even different symptoms to these listed here and this is due to the subjective nature of Halitophobia.

However, you should also be aware that many of these somatic symptoms (symptoms felt in the body) WILL subside over time and rarely last for more than 20 to 30 minutes.

Scientist examining the causes of Halitophobia Banner

What Causes Halitophobia?

It’s possible that your Halitophobia may be the result of traumatic events or adverse situations that you experienced at some point in your life.

Because your sense of smell is so closely linked with memory you might find that bad breath triggers negative or traumatic memories from the past, especially those linked to situations of close proximity.

However, because a Fear of Bad Breath is by no means universal, the most likely explanation for your Halitophobia is the way you understood and made sense of your earlier experiences around which you have built a set of beliefs.

Is your phobia making you anxious or are you creating the anxiety?

It might be hard to accept, but it’s almost certain that the anxiety you experience when you encounter your phobic object or situation is being unwittingly created by YOU and NOT the thing you fear.

Find out more about the subjective vs objective nature of phobias here.

Halitophobia sufferer in therapy session

Counselling and Therapy for Halitophobia

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Halitophobia the Fear of Bad Breath.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had your phobia.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your phobia is affecting you today.

You can read more about the different types of therapy for Halitophobia on the following links:

Although all forms of psychotherapy use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Furthermore, research also suggests that the therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.

Free Initial Consultations for Halitophobia Banner

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming Halitophobia or recovering from related mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular phobia and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.


Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome Halitophobia but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your fear of bad breath using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for halitophobia problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.