What Causes Bad Breath and How to Cure it

Bad breath
Disagreeable bad or unpleasant odor emanating from the mouth air and breath creates social embarrassment and psychological disadvantage affecting day to day personnel and professional relationships. The scientific term for bad breath is halitosis which is derived from the Latin word ‘halitus’ (breath), and the Greek word ‘nosos’ (disease).

It is also possible that after regular visits to your dentist , your mouth may still smell foul. Although in 90% cases mouth conditions are major reason of bad breath (Intra-oral halitosis).

As I have mentioned in my earlier posts too that oral cavity and whole body should not be treated as separate entity. They are interconnected. At times, bad breath ( Extra-oral halitosis) can also reflect the systemic conditions and is of real concern. So, correct diagnosis is mandatory to have correct treatment. Therefore, Bad breath can be treated if its etiology can be detected rightly. Oral origin halitosis can be effectively treated by simple measures such as scaling and root planning, instructions for oral hygiene, tongue cleaning and mouth rinsing. Whereas non oral  foul breath requires physician advice and treatment as sole dental treatment may be able to mask smell for some time only.

Why bad Odour Develops?

Our mouth is not sterile, it may contain 500 different species of microorganisms (both harmful and harmless). Odoriferous substances are produced as a by product by these bacterias, most common of which are Volatile Sulphur Compounds :Hydrogen sulphide (H2S), Dimethyl sulphide and Methyl mercaptan.

Oral Reasons of Bad Breath

  • Tongue coating
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Caries, Gum disease and pockets
  • Food impaction
  • Unclean dentures
  • Infection in the Extraction sites or other healing wounds
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Reduction of salivary flow or Xerostomia
  • Faulty restorations
  • Crowding in teeth
  • Oral cancers
  • Mouth breathing

Non Oral Origin of Bad Breath

Respiratory Diseases

  • Tonsillitis
  • Sinusitis or pharyngitis
  • Sinus malignancy
  • Cleft palate
  • Foreign bodies in the nose or lung
  • Nasal malignancy
  • Tonsilloliths
  • Lung infections or malignancy
  • Bronchitis, and Bronchiectasis
  • Fever
  • Fasting
  • Malnutrition
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal reflex disease and gastric ulcers
  • Hepatic failure
  • Renal failure
  • Leukemia
  • Diabetes
  • Menstruation (“Menstrual breath”)
  • Malignancy
  • Aging

Dietary Reasons for Bad Breath

  • Volatile food stuff
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spiced food
  • Alcohol
  • Substance abuse
  • Drugs
  • Tobacco
  • Betal

Other Reasons for Bad Breath

1. Morning halitosis
It is common to have foul breath after night long sleep in the morning. (Physiological halitosis). During sleep there is decrease in the salivary flow and liquid intake  and pooling of saliva in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth are not washed away and get accumulated in the mouth  which causes putrefaction of entrapped food particles and dead cells.

The problem will disappear as soon as oral hygiene measures are taken in the morning.
2. Pseudohalitosis
If an individual  complains of bad breath without the actual existence. It can be treated by your dentist by counseling and simple oral hygiene procedures.
3. Halitophobia
Phobia is the word used to describe fear of something. Some individuals suffer from extremely overstated fears and concerns about having bad breath even in the absence of bad breath, this is halitophobia. This condition requires psychological investigation or support rather than a dental treatment.


Pic credit:vitdaily.com

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