What is halitosis?
Halitosis is the technical term for bad breath. It refers to an unpleasant smell emanating from the mouth. It’s a fairly subjective term, though, because one person’s definition of halitosis may be very different from another’s.
Most cases of bad breath are caused by oral bacteria. These bacteria collect in the mouth and break down food particles. The resulting odor typically comes from the waste products of this bacteria.
Other common causes of bad breath include dry mouth, gum disease, tobacco use, and certain medications.
Causes of halitosis
Halitosis is often caused by poor oral hygiene and bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth produce a combination of organic acids that break down the dead and dying cells from food particles remaining in the mouth, leaving waste products on the teeth. This waste creates an unpleasant odor. When these odors are expelled, halitosis occurs.
The other major causes of halitosis include:
- Gum disease
- Dry mouth and decreased salivary flow
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Chronic health conditions like sinusitis, respiratory tract infection, diabetes, liver and kidney ailments, and gastrointestinal discomfort
Treatment for halitosis depends on the underlying cause. If your bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene, following good oral hygiene practices may be enough to freshen your breath.
If your bad breath is caused by an underlying condition, halitosis treatment may be more complex. Talk to your dentist about treatment options for bad breath.
Following good oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash and visiting your dentist regularly can help prevent halitosis and other oral health problems. When your dentist determines that your halitosis is caused by tooth decay or gum disease, treatment may include professional dental cleanings, home oral health care, and restorative dental treatments such as fillings, crowns, and dental implants.
If your bad breath is caused by a dry mouth condition, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse, mouth spray, or toothpaste with an antibacterial ingredient. You may also be advised to stay hydrated by drinking more water.
By practicing good oral hygiene, you can prevent a number of conditions that lead to bad breath. Brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day will help remove the bacteria and food particles from your mouth. By visiting your dentist regularly, you can prevent gum disease and other oral health conditions that cause bad breath. It is also important to quit the habit of smoking and the use of tobacco products, which are major reasons that cause bad breath. Dentists also advise their patients to eat a balanced and nutritious diet to bring bad breath under control.
Call our office and request an appointment with Dr. An today to learn about treatments for halitosis.