Halitosis/Bad Breath

Bad Breath Treatment

Ever have the feeling that people have avoided talking to you face to face or that they have backed away when you began a conversation? If either of these has happened to you, then maybe it is not you that is offending, but, your breath.

Halitosis (also known as bad breath) can affect anyone at anytime. It is estimated that at one time or another between 50% and 60% of the population suffer from halitosis. The bad news is – it’s offensive to most people. The good news is – now, more than ever, there are ways to prevent it.

What causes bad breath? Most of the time, halitosis originates in the mouth. It is caused by oral bacteria breaking down stubborn food debris. This process creates by products called volatile sulfur compounds (VCS’s), which emit a smell similar to rotten eggs. The type of bacteria that initiates this process needs an environment that is free of oxygen, so they usually inhabit areas that are difficult to reach, such as the pockets around teeth and the fissures of the tongue. In some circumstances, the odor may be caused by a systemic condition such as diabetes, or a problem in the sinuses, pharynx, lungs, or stomach. Therefore the first step in solving bad breath problems is to undergo a medical examination to ensure that there aren’t any systemic problems contributing to the condition. Other factors such as: tobacco, alcohol, alcohol containing mouth rinses; foods like garlic, onions, and spicy food; hunger, and dry mouth can cause halitosis, but are secondary to the main culprit – oral bacteria.

What can be done? If it is clear that bacteria are the culprits, methods to reduce them are the first line of defense. If periodontal disease or tooth decay is present, the types of bacteria that cause bad breath increase. Be sure to visit your dentist for a complete check up that includes a periodontal examination. Keeping your mouth as clean as possible, helps eliminate bacteria. In fact, it is valuable to consider this cleaning process as “full–mouth disinfection,” focusing on all areas where bacteria may reside. This “disinfection” includes thorough brushing, proper use of dental gloss, mouth rinse, and cleaning the tongue.

Bad Breath