Halitosis (Bad breath) - How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Halitosis is an oral health problem characterized by foul-smelling breath. Finding the origin of the bad breath is usually the first step towards treating this avoidable condition.
There are multiple causes of bad breath and numerous sources of bacteria in the mouth. (Pixabay)
There are multiple causes of bad breath and numerous sources of bacteria in the mouth. (Pixabay)

What exactly is halitosis?

Halitosis is an oral health problem characterized by foul-smelling breath. Finding the origin of the bad breath is usually the first step towards treating this avoidable condition.

There are multiple causes of bad breath and numerous sources of bacteria in the mouth. (Pixabay)
Dental Erosion-Chemical Loss Of Mineralized Teeth

What factors contribute to bad breath?

There are multiple causes of bad breath and numerous sources of bacteria in the mouth. Halitosis can be caused by the following:

  • Specific foods: The foods we eat impact our oral health, including our breath. Garlic, onions, and other foods are absorbed into the bloodstream. That food can affect our breath until it leaves our bodies.

  • Improper oral health care: Food remains in the mouth without proper and consistent brushing, flossing, and routine dental exams. Bacteria thrives in this environment. Food that accumulates on the teeth, gums, and tongue has the potential to rot. This produces a foul odor and taste in the mouth.

  • Improper denture cleaning: Dentures not adequately cleaned may collect bacteria, fungi, and leftover food particles, resulting in bad breath.

  • Bacteria cause bad breath: Certain bacteria on the tongue can interact with amino acids in foods, producing odorous Sulphur compounds.

  • Periodontal disease: Bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth are two of the most common symptoms of this gum disease. This condition requires immediate attention from an oral health professional.

  • Mouth dryness (Xerostomia): This condition is a significant element of halitosis. When saliva production is significantly reduced, the mouth cannot cleanse itself and remove debris and food particles left behind. Certain medications, a salivary gland disorder, or always breathing through the mouth instead of the nose can all cause dry mouth.

  • Products containing tobacco: Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snuff, stain teeth and also put the body at risk for a variety of diseases. However, they also contribute to bad breath.

Even if their breath is objectively acceptable, people may believe they have bad breath. This is known as "pseudo-halitosis." Halitophobia, or fear of bad breath, is accurate and may persist despite doctor reassurance. People with pseudo-halitosis respond well to reassurance and may benefit from speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist who has knowledge about the condition.
Dr. Monisha Mohan Kumar, BDS, MPH, United Kingdom

What are the signs and symptoms of halitosis?

The main symptom of halitosis is a foul odor from the mouth that is above a socially acceptable level. The foul odor can become more intense in the morning or after smoking, drinking coffee, or eating certain foods, such as garlic.

How is halitosis diagnosed?

Dentists frequently diagnose halitosis. The diagnosis is based on the patient history and the presence of mouth odour during the dental exam. (Unsplash)
Dentists frequently diagnose halitosis. The diagnosis is based on the patient history and the presence of mouth odour during the dental exam. (Unsplash)

Dentists frequently diagnose halitosis. The diagnosis is based on the patient history and the presence of mouth odor during the dental exam. First, the entire mouth is examined to determine whether a cause, such as an infection, can be identified. If the dentist cannot determine the reason, they will refer you to an appropriate specialist doctor.

There are multiple causes of bad breath and numerous sources of bacteria in the mouth. (Pixabay)
MGIMS- Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences

How can I prevent halitosis?

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day is recommended.

  • Brush the palate, tongue and cheeks. The majority of bad breath bacteria live on the tongue. Therefore, brushing or scraping the tongue can significantly improve your breath.

  • Take your dentures out at night and thoroughly clean them before putting them in your mouth. Before using deodorizing sprays or tablets, consult with your dentist. Some only temporarily mask the odor.

  • Quit smoking if you smoke. You will have fresher breath and a healthier body in general.

  • Consume healthy foods that require chewing to keep your saliva flowing. For example, carrots and apples necessitates a large amount of saliva. You can also chew sugar-free candies or sugar-free gum.

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