Bad breath or halitosis as it is referred to by dentists, is a common oral condition and a reason why patients seek dental consultation. Halitosis is the result of microbial activity in the mouth in a majority of the population.Treatment options are relatively straightforward when the clinician can objectively verify the presence of oral malodorous/bad breath. In many cases, however, the patient’s complaint of bad breath does not appear to have an objective basis.
Reasons for oral-based malodorous include –
– Poor oral hygiene.
– Periodontal disease.
– Faulty dental restorations.
– Debris buildup on the posterior area of the tongue.
Many factors influence the way in which we generally perceive odors. Qualitative judgments of odors largely depend on a person’s experience and personality traits. In this context, how we perceive our own breath odor is even more complex. Generally speaking, people appear to be unable to tell whether they have bad breath. This inability, termed the ‘bad breath paradox’ results in millions of people who have bad breath, but are unaware of it, while millions of others who do not have discernible bad breath think they do. The consequences of this paradox are immense.
People who are not aware of their bad breath may come across social professional rejections without knowing why. Since bad breath and other body odors are intimate topics, few of us are willing to confront people who have this problem. This is unfortunate, as bad breath often is indicative of oral and medical conditions that can be treated. On the other hand, so-called “halitophobia” spend their entire lives obsessed with the thought that others perceive them as having bad breath. This obsession causes them to severely restrict their behavior, avoid social interactions and regularly attempt to cover up a problem that does not exist.
Classification of halitosis:
- Genuine halitosis
- Physiologic halitosis
- Pathologic halitosis
Most oral malodor originates within the oral cavity itself, mostly as an effect of microbial activity, in which volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) and other volatile compounds are produced through proteolysis and putrefaction of glycoproteins and proteins. Furthermore, cleaning of the teeth and tongue, rinsing with mouthwash, and periodontal therapy can control oral malodor.
However, it has also been reported that these treatments are often deemed unsuccessful by patients who are extremely sensitive to and often delusional about the behavior of others towards their imagined oral malodor, and who suffer from oral malodor with accompanying psychosomatic tendencies.
Halitosis is also caused due to certain systemic conditions, namely
- Chronic liver failure
- Chronic renal failure
- Diabetes mellitus
Thus in such cases treatment of the underlying cause can bring the halitosis under control.
Home Remedies for Bad Breath – Figuring out the cause of bad breath is the first step, obviously, in doing something about it, but here are some home remedies to keep your breath as fresh as possible.
Keep your mouth clean – Brush thoroughly before breakfast and after dinner which should be followed by flossing.Food/bacteria trapped between teeth and at the gumline can be removed only with floss; if it’s left to linger, it’s not going to smell nice. Periodontal/gum disease can result in bad breath too.
Clean your tongue – Bacteria left on your tongue can contribute to less-than-fresh breath, so be sure to brush your tongue after you’ve cleaned your pearly whites.
Denture care – If you wear dentures, remove them prior to sleeping.Clean them thoroughly and wear them again in the morning.
Wet your oral cavity – A dry mouth can cause smelly breath. Saliva contains natural antibacterial effects that help clean your mouth, and it washes away food particles.(Saliva flow is reduced at night, which explains why your breath smells sour in the morning.) Try chewing on sugarless mints to stimulate saliva production.
Don’t stress out – Stress can dry out your mouth, causing bad breath.
Avoid potent foods – Garlic and onions, among other foods, contain sulfur compounds that move on to the lungs after they are absorbed in the bloodstream, which in turn can cause bad breath.
How a dentist can help – Regular professional cleaning, correction of faulty restorations/fillings, correction of ill-fitting dentures, full mouth disinfection, treatment of gum/periodontal diseases and other oral diseases/lesions that may be a precursor or cause of halitosis can be done with the dentists diagnostic and treatment skills.
Kindly visit us at any one of our Dental Centres in case of any kind of dental problem or for a thorough dental assessment.
Courtesy Dr. Vignesh N, Apollo WHITE Dental, Puducherry. For more details call: +91 954 3368478 or email: [email protected]