02 Jan 2014
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, stands for unpleasant breath. This unpleasant odor can occur frequently or just some times, and that depends what's causing it. The main cause of bad breath is to be identified with the bacteria that lives in our mouth. The so-called morning bad breath, caused by these bacteria, is considered normal as we produce less saliva during sleep hours and therefore more bacteria is present in the oral cavity during the night. What really happens is that while you sleep, the bacteria feeds on the dead cells deposited on your tongue expelling composites that have unpleasant odor. During the day, these dead cells are regularly washed away by saliva.
Other causes of halitosis include:
- Lack of dental hygiene
- Teeth infections
- Respiratory infections
- External causes (such as tobacco or certain aliments)
- Illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, sinus disease, liver disease
- Dry mouth
The most common symptom is obviously a foul odor; other symptoms depend on the underlying cause of halitosis. For example, if what's causing bad breath is a poor dental hygiene, symptoms will include the presence of plaque and food residues on teeth. In case of infections, symptoms may concern your gums which will appear red and swollen, or perhaps you will notice an abscess (pus) at the base of a tooth.
As for the diagnosis, your dentist will look for the cause of bad breath and once identified, you will be advised to undertake proper treatment to fight halitosis. in terms of prevention, in most cases bad breath can be avoided by good oral hygiene which includes brushing, flossing, and using your regular mouthwash to kill all bacteria in your mouth.
Additionally, making sure you drink a lot of water as it stimulates the production of saliva and washes away food residues. However, if the cause of bad breath is to be found in a chronic disease or illness, rather than prevention there is the need for specific treatments in order to avoid halitosis as a symptom.