Bad Breath (Halitosis): Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Bad Breath (Halitosis): Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Bad Breath Causes | Dr Suresh Explains

Halitosis or bad breath is often annoying and embarrassing to deal with. It can also lead to social stigma, low self-esteem and anxiety.

You may wonder what would be the permanent solution for your bad breath

No matter what measure you take whatever method you adopt or try if you are not getting rid of your bad breath – you must visit your dentist.

There are plenty of products: mouthwashes, mints, gums, and solutions that are designed to fight bad breath. But, none of these fights the root cause of the problem. They are just temporary measures.

Symptoms of Bad breath

Some people have bad breath but they don’t know it as they cannot access it on their own. In some cases, others don’t have bad breath – but they are worried about it. Some people even with little or no mouth odour remain worrisome all the time. Odours associated with bad breath vary depending on the underlying cause or source. If you are unsure whether you may have bad breath or to remove your confusion, it is better to assess and confirm your problem with a close relative or friend. If you have any questions related to bad breath talk to your dentist straight away.

Bad Breath Causes

Poor Habits that Cause Bad Breath: If you don’t take care of your oral hygiene, you may become prone to halitosis. People who don’t floss their teeth and brush twice or thrice a day, invite microbes to flourish in their mouth and teeth. Those who don’t brush and floss teeth daily allow bacteria to grow in between teeth and around the gums and on the tongue.

This bad habit over a period of time may lead to bad breath, inflammation of the gums, bleeding gums, gingivitis and in the advanced stages may lead to more serious dental infections – such as periodontitis.

Bad Food Habits: In the majority of the cases, bad eating, oral hygiene and food habits lead to bad breath. In general, food particles break down in the mouth and get stick to the gums and teeth. This provides a favourable environment for the bacteria to flourish. Certain foods naturally smell bad such as onion, garlic and certain spices. When you eat such foods, they cause bad breath. Even after digestion some compounds from these foods enter the bloodstream and reach the lungs and affect your breath.

Bad Tongue: Many people are not aware that their tongue also harbours microorganisms. When you don’t take care of your tongue, bacteria grow and multiply on it – leading to bad breath.

Dentures: people who use dentures and don’t take proper care and maintain hygiene have bad breath issues. Food particles get trapped in the dentures if they don’t fit properly and aren’t cleaned regularly. Odour-causing bacteria gain easy access to such an environment leading to bad odours.

Use of Tobacco Products and Smoking: People who use tobacco products or chew tobacco have bad breath issues. Even smokers have bad breath issues with unpleasant mouth odours. In addition, tobacco users and smokers become prone to dental issues and infections – the major cause of bad breath.

Mouth, nose and throat conditions:  Inflamed or diseased tonsils (bacterial infections of the tonsils) that are covered with small whitish stones can cause bad breath. Sinusitis, recurrent respiratory tract infections, infections of the nose, throat and sinuses; bacterial infections with post nasal drip – can all contribute to bad breath.

Mouth Infections: Mouth sores or gum disease, tooth decay, dental cavities, wounds infection after removal of the tooth, surgical wounds after oral surgery and the loose tooth can contribute to bad breath.

Other Bad Breath Causes

Medications Use: Certain medicines can directly contribute to bad breath. For instance, psychotropic medicines, drugs used to treat mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can cause dry mouth that leads to bad breath.

Xerostomia or Dry mouth: A condition wherein saliva dries out in the mouth. When saliva dries or its production decreases, it may lead to bad breath. People who wake up in the morning experience dry mouth naturally with morning breath. However, if a person sleeps with his mouth open, the condition of dry mouth and dry mouth worsens. Certain health conditions and problems with the salivary glands can cause chronic dry mouth.

Other conditions: Kidney or liver problems, chronic lung infections, gastrointestinal issues, chronic acid reflux, diabetes, postnasal drip, long-term chronic sinus infections, pneumonia or bronchitis and other respiratory tract infections and seasonal allergies can also cause bad breath.

When to see a doctor

People who have bad breath must review their oral hygiene habits. They should make a habit of regularly brushing their teeth and tongue after eating; using dental floss and drinking plenty of water. If you have a bad breath issue and adopted oral hygiene habits, but your bad breath still persists, then you must see your dentist.

In a majority of the cases, your dentist treats the cause of bad breath. In a few other and rare circumstances, if your dentist suspects any serious health condition – other than a dental issue is causing your bad breath, the doctor may refer you to a physician.

To know more about bad breath causes, see us…

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