Bad Breath-Halitosis

Bad breath (also known as halitosis), we’ve all had it on occasion, but did you know that it is a common condition found in at least 50% of the adult population, with 25% of that group having chronic bad breath?

Here are the most common causes of Halitosis:

1)      Sinuses and Tonsils: materials trapped in tonsils are part of our normal defence system. If you have overall healthy gums and teeth, the cause of bad breath could be a sign of a medical disorder such as sinusitis or a respiratory tract infection. You dentist can evaluate the situation and refer you to a medical doctor if needed.

2)      Gastric Issues: Although not the most common of bad breath causes, people with gastric issues (gastric reflux and gastrointestinal issue) may experience halitosis. Semi digested food forced back through the sphincter, difficulty digesting certain foods like lactose and corn products, and people infected with Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that thrive on the stomach walls) create more bad breath issues.

3)      Food and tongue: Alcohol, cigarettes and specific foods (onion, garlic, etc.) are all contributors to bad breath.

4)      Dental causes: Poor oral hygiene, plaque build-up, dental decay, periodontal disease and gingivitis.

5)      Health conditions and medications: Medications that cause xerostomia (dry mouth) are all sources of bad breath. Saliva helps cleanse our mouth by removing bacteria. When we lack saliva flow, bad breath can occur. People with uncontrolled diabetes may have “fruity” breath, kidney disease may cause a fishy smell, while liver and lung disease can also produce bad breath as a result of the chemicals produced.

How do I get rid of bad breath?

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Regular dental cleanings and thorough daily home care
  • If the smell is coming from teeth with decay, have your teeth restored properly
  • For those with xerostomia (dry mouth), chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow may be helpful

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