Halitosis means bad breath. Many people when they are talking, give off a characteristic odor that to themselves or others can be unpleasant. Halitosis can be a sign and/or a symptom; the patient may have the problem and not be aware of it or don´t suffer it and believe it does.
The human breath normally doesn’t have an unpleasant odor and it’s usually slightly sweet and characteristic. This can also vary depending on the day. Even when it is due to a chronic disease process it may present variations. It depends on salivary secretion, food debris or plaque.
Causes of bad breath
Furthermore, the odor emanating from the mouth is not constant throughout the day; it’s more intense on awakening because during sleep we stop producing saliva which keeps the mouth clean. Without saliva, dead cells and bacteria adhere to the tongue and produce bad odors, especially before brushing teeth, prolonged fasting or after certain meals. Foods like garlic, onions, spicy, alcohol and food scraps produce bad breath.
Bacteria living on the tongue produce a gas that cause unpleasant odors. Dry mouth, hormonal changes or the morphology of the tongue are some of the factors that support the growth of these bacteria.
Dental conditions such as tooth decay, gum problems, mouth infections and misplaced fixed prostheses are other causes of halitosis.
How to treat bad breath
In 90% of the cases bad breath has its origin in the mouth and not in the stomach. Therefore, it is solved with proper dental hygiene, brushing your teeth and gums at least twice a day, without forgetting the tongue. The tongue can be cleaned with a brush, using a "tongue scraper" or mouthwash. Something very important is making regular visits to the dentist to control caries, gingivitis, pyorrhea, etc. Having a healthy mouth will solve all or most of situations of halitosis or bad breath. In 10% of cases halitosis has not an oral origin (liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, pharyngitis, sinusitis ...); Therefore, in these circumstances you will need to see a specialist to deal adequately with the problem.
* A publication of Dr. Jose Arias Pardiñas, dentist doctor expert in dental implants, gum disease and prosthetics.