We have all experienced bad breath or had the unpleasant experience of interacting with someone with bad breath. Bad breath, known in medicine as halitosis, is defined as unpleasant odour coming from the mouth. Halitosis can occur transiently and be easily remedied, such as morning breath, or halitosis can be a chronic state reflective of an underlying medical problem. More often than not the mouth is the cause of bad breath, however, other medical conditions, including disease and infection, can result in bad breath too.
The mouth relies on a number of body functions to stay healthy and prevent bad breath including saliva which has a cleansing effect on our mouth. Consequently, dry mouth limits the body’s ability to maintain appropriate bacteria levels resulting in halitosis. The processes taking place in the mouth include the breakdown of proteins which is the true source of odours. Likewise, poor dental hygiene allows for a buildup of bacteria which contributes to bad breath.
Additionally, external factors can play a role in the presence of bad breath. Smoking, more specifically smoking tobacco, smells unpleasant on the breath and has a tendency to dry the mouth. As previously mentioned, dry mouth further contributes to halitosis. More temporary outside influences on the breath may include a variety of strong-smelling food such as consuming garlic, onions, or fish.
In some instances, the source of bad breath is not just the mouth, but an underlying disease. Oral diseases such as lesions from herpes simplex or infections due to mouth abscesses are known to cause bad breath. Less common, but still responsible for bad breath, can be kidney infections or diabetes.
Fortunately, halitosis is a condition which has a number of effective cures and treatments. First, ensure you are performing adequate dental hygiene including daily brushing and flossing. Your first line of defence and most valuable resource in the treatment of halitosis is to reach out to a dentist. Other treatment approaches may include quitting smoking, use of mouthwash, or a visit to your primary care doctor if modifying your dental hygiene approach does not solve the problem. If you are experiencing bad breath don't ignore it, instead visit Your Dental Office to understand what the cause may be. Contact us today to book an appointment.