Definition of halitosis (bad breath)
Halitosis otherwise called bad breath is a condition in which a person produces an offensive odor from their mouth. Usually, the early morning breath most people wake up with is not regarded as halitosis. Actual halitosis is a consistent smell that does not go away after brushing, flossing, and mouth rinsing. Most people find it embarrassing as they shy away from even telling their dentist that they have bad breath.
Also, halitosis is a major issue that leads to psychological distress. Halitosis can affect anyone but it is shown that 1 in 4 people have chronic bad breath on a daily basis. Bad breath ranked amongst the third most common reason while an individual goes for dental care, after gum disease and tooth decay.
Living a healthy lifestyle like avoiding smoking and improving dental hygiene can help provide solutions to bad breath but if the halitosis persists, it’s advisable to go visit your dentist to help detect the precise cause of it.
Consequently, about 25 percent of the people are always affected with bad breath as its major cause is always attributed to its oral hygiene.
Main facts on halitosis
The following are the major facts about halitosis:
- Bad oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis.
- Mouth odor can be reduced by keeping the mouth hydrated at all times.
- It tends to affect virtually attack 1 in 4 people globally.
- If food particles are left in the mouth, they are being broken down by bacteria which releases sulfur compounds.
- Daily brushing of your tooth, flossing, and hydration are the optimal treatment for halitosis.
What are the causes of bad breath?
Bad breath is mainly caused by the following ways:
When food particles broken down are stuck in your teeth, mouth odor may occur. Consuming foods like garlic and onions regularly can cause bad breath or halitosis. After foods have been digested, their breakdown products are being carried in the blood to the lungs where they affect your breath easily.
Regular brushing and flossing help remove small particles of food that accumulate and slowly break down, releasing an odor. Plaque could arise if you don’t brush your teeth regularly as they make your gums feel irritated and can lead to inflammation between your gums and teeth known as periodontitis. A set of artificial teeth that are not regularly being cleaned can harbor bacteria that bring about bad breath.
Read Also: Best Toothpaste For Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Some drugs may cause a reduction of saliva and therefore, increasing mouth odors while other drugs may bring about mouth odors as they breakdown and unleash chemicals in the breath. They may include some chemotherapy chemicals, nitrates being used for the treatment of angina, and some tranquilizers like phenothiazines. People who take supplements associated with the vitamin in large doses can lead to halitosis.
Presence of the foreign body
If the foreign body is being found in your nasal cavity especially that of kids, it can make your child vulnerable to halitosis.
Smoking of cigarettes and any other form of tobacco products may cause mouth odor as they also increase your chance of developing gum disease which can also lead to bad breath.
Dry mouth usually associated naturally or due to a specific disease like xerostomia can also bring about mouth odor very easily.
Fasting and low-carbohydrate
Bad breath can also be gotten from low-carbohydrate eating programs and fasting. This is as a result of the fats being broken down producing chemicals known as ketones. These ketones usually have a strong odor.
Conditions associated with the nose, mouth, and throat
Inflammation or infections around the throat, nose, or sinuses can also cause bad breath. Also, some small, bacteria-covered stones can bring about the formation of tonsils at the back of the throat and may eventually release mouth odor.
Liver failure, cancers, and any other metabolic diseases can cause bad breath as a result of the specific mixes of chemicals generated. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may also lead to bad breath because of the consistent reflux of stomach acids.
Other causes of bad breath
Apart from oral hygiene which is the main cause of bad breath, we have other instances that can also cause this medical condition. They include:
Obstruction associated with bowel
Your breath can have a foul smell if you do experience a prolonged period of vomiting like incessant bowel obstruction.
Aspiration pneumonia can also cause bad breath in a situation where there is an infection or swellings around the lungs or airways as a result of inhaling saliva, vomit, liquids, or food.
Ketoacidosis is a severe and life-threatening medical condition that needs regular medical attention. If the insulin levels of an individual with diabetes are very low, their body can no longer utilize sugar and begin to make use of its stored fat instead. These fats can be broken down to produce ketones which are poisonous when present in large numbers and bring about extremely bad breath.
Here, the airways become wider than normal, allowing the production of mucus that brings about halitosis. It is a long-term medical condition.
What are the symptoms of halitosis?
Its odor associated with breath may differ depending on the cause of the issue. Most at times, it is advisable you consult your friends and family members to look out for mouth odor, as it can be very difficult to detect it yourself.
Other ways like licking your wrist, leaving it to dry, and eventually smell it with your nose. If you discover an irritating foul smell then it is an indication that you have bad breath.
Consequently, a condition known as halitophobia can also make one be obsessed with mouth-cleansing behavior since most of these individuals are always feeling worried about their breath irrespective of whether they have little or no mouth odor.
How you can diagnose halitosis
Your dentist will take a close look of your breath by smelling it and if you are suspected to have halitosis, he or she will then rate the odor using a six-point intensity scale. Also, your dentist may decide to scrape the back of your tongue since it is a major site that harbors foul smell and smell the scrapings to be sure that you have halitosis.
Furthermore, more developed technologies are being used to ascertain the precise rate odor of an individual’s breath. Here are the technologies used:
This instrument is used in measuring three known volatile sulfur compounds like the dimethyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide, and methyl mercaptan. This help detects precisely if an individual has halitosis.
Performing a beta-galactosidase test
It is known that the levels of the enzyme beta-galactosidase have been associated with mouth odor as this help the dentist design better treatment for you.
This is an instrument used in detecting low levels of sulfur so as to help ascertain if a person has bad breath or not.
This device is used in measuring the levels of a particular enzyme that is being produced by halitosis-causing bacteria. It helps detect bad breath effectively.
Are there treatments for bad breath?
Yes, they are as you have to simply re-evaluate your basic brushing and rinsing technique. Never neglect cleaning your tongue during brushing of your teeth as it is very important in preventing bad breath since most halitosis-causing bacteria harbors there. Always rinse your mouth properly after brushing and if you don’t get your desired result, quickly visit a dentist to help you out.
Also, you may be recommended by your dentist to use toothpaste that has an antibacterial agent or mouth wash to alleviate mouth odor. These not only help prevent halitosis as it also helps reduce your chance of developing cavities and gum diseases. A situation where the gum disease is present, you have to go for a professional cleaning to help remove the accumulated bacteria in pockets between the teeth and gums.
Finally, always be free to share any secret with your dentist so he can know the best treatment or diagnosis for you.
Halitosis home remedies
The following are the home remedies for halitosis:
Brushing of your teeth
Always brush your teeth at least twice daily and preferably after each meal to avoid having bad breath.
Cleaning of dentures
Always clean anything that goes into your mouth each day, not excluding a bridge, dentures, or a mouth guard. This cleaning helps prevent the accumulation of bacteria and transferring of the bacteria back into the mouth. It is advisable to change your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months to avoid having bad breath.
Avoid having dry mouth
Avoid drinking of alcohol and smoking of tobacco as they dehydrate the mouth. Sugar-free chewing gum or sweet can help boost the production of saliva. If your mouth is extremely dried, your dentist may recommend you taking some medications to enhance the flow of saliva.
Flossing helps limit the accumulation of food particles and plaque from sticking on the teeth.
Cleaning of the tongue
The tongue always harbors enough food, bacteria, and dead cells mostly common amongst people with dry mouth or smokers. You can use a tongue scraper to help clean your tongue.
Avoid certain foods
Foods like garlic, soda, pastrami, onions, cheese, and spicy food make one easily vulnerable to bad breath. Limit your consumption of alcohol and coffees to enable you to enjoy a healthy breath.
What is the best toothpaste for halitosis?
The following are the best toothpaste to help prevent the halitosis from occurring:
- Smart mouth toothpaste
- CloSYS fluoride toothpaste
- Marvis jasmine mint toothpaste
- TheraBreath is mainly recommended by the dentist for dry mouth and bad breath
- Twin lotus active charcoal toothpaste herbaliste triple action
- Oxyfresh fluoride mint toothpaste
We have seen that bad oral hygiene is the main cause of halitosis and always inculcate the habit of brushing your teeth regularly, floss them and also clean your tongue to avert easy building up of bacteria under your tongue.