Halitosis or bad breath, is a term used to describe noticeably unpleasant odors exhaled in breathing – whether the smell is from an oral source, due to bacteria or otherwise. Halitosis has a significant impact – personally and socially – on those who suffer from it or believe they do (halitophobia), and is estimated to be the third-most-frequent reason for seeking dental aid, following tooth decay and periodontal disease.Bad breath is a common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth and gums. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. However it can also be a sign of underlying health problems such as an infection of the respiratory ducts, such as bronchitis or pneumonia or a symptom of diabetes.
Treatment of the causes should subside the symptoms of halitosis, there fore if it is caused by bacteria in the mouth then good oral hygiene is required through regular brushing and flossing and visits to the dentist. An anti-bacterial mouthwash would also aid the problem. Prohibiting from tobacco use is also eesential in prvention of bad breath and drinking plenty of water will help keep the mouth moist and stop the effects of xerostomia (dry mouth). If the problem is caused by other health issues then they will need to be addressed i.e. treatment of a respiratory infection would subside the symptom of halitosis.Regular brushing, flossing and the use of an anti-bacterial mouth wash will prevent halitosis. Also a smoker would notice a marked improvement of halitosis if they were to quit smoking.
The 10 Top Causes of Bad Breath (and What to Do About It)
March 20th, 2012 by Michael Sinkin
Bad Breath (also known as “Halitosis”) is a concern for most people, proven by the fact that Americans spend over $500 million dollars per year trying to combat it. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering magazines routinely list “Bad Breath” as a top 10 faux pas when meeting someone for the first time. The men’s lifestyle magazine AskMen.com recently placed bad breath as number two on its list of the biggest turnoffs for women!
For most people Halitosis is a result of one or more of the following:
- Poor dental hygiene (number 1 reason!)
- Diet (garlic, onions, curry, and other strong flavorings)
- Acid Reflux (heartburn)
- GERD (a form of acid reflux in the lower esophagus)
- Poorly controlled Diabetes
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Dieting (especially low carb diets)
- Prescription medicines that cause “dry mouth”
The bad odor brought about by poor dental hygiene cannot be masked, any more than perfume can cover poor personal hygiene. While there is no substitute for good dental homecare and regular visits to the dentist, there are some basic halitosis remedies that can be very effective:
- Tongue Scrapers: These products are gaining popularity and are very effective in reducing the amount of sulfur-producing Bad Breath-causing bacteria residing on the tongue. Brushing one’s tongue accomplishes the same thing-one or two swipes with your toothbrush is sufficient.
- Mouthwash: There are some concerns with the regular use of mouthwashes, including the high alcohol content in most products. The presence of high alcohol concentration can exacerbate symptoms for patients with dry mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by a host of reasons, including use of medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure and cardiac meds, certain auto-immune conditions, and cancer treatments.
- Non-Alcoholic Mouth Rinses: Because many people are trying to avoid the high-alcohol content in conventional mouthwashes, a huge emerging market for specially formulated alcohol-free rinses has been developed. Biotene® rinse as well as related products have taken a share of the market.Biotene® is a product that I regularly recommend. It kills bacteria just as effectively without the burning sensation you might experience from regular mouthwashes, particularly if you have a mild irritation in your mouth and gums to begin with. Biotene® and similar products also work to maintain a normal balance of electrolytes usually found in healthy mouths
Whatever the remedy you choose for your Halitosis, incorporate it into your regular oral hygiene regimen. Your blind date will thank you for it. But remember that persistent Bad Breath is often a sign that something serious is wrong and you should be evaluated by your dentist or physician (or both!).
Dr. Michael Sinkin has been practicing dentistry for over two decades. He truly cares about the experience his patients have and takes great pride in making them feel relaxed and comfortable during every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. To find out more about Dr. Sinkin, please click here.