Bad breath, also called halitosis is a general concern for a number of people who may feel uncomfortable or experience a loss of confidence and can even lead to anxiety issues.
Physiologic Halitosis refers to those situations where the person's malodor is attributable to putrefaction processes taking place in their oral cavity, frequently within the white-colored coating found on the posterior portion of their tongue. It can come in the form of morning breath or from certain foods such as onions, garlic, and coffee.
In Pathologic Halitosis the person's breath odor is a symptom of a disease, or other pathologic condition, or aggravated by it.
Causes of Halitosis:
- Internal Factors: These are causes stemming from within the oral cavity and account for 90% of halitosis. It is caused by the buildup of bacteria, especially the kind that does not require oxygen, allowing it to bury itself deep within the mouth. These will cause the formation of dental plaque and tartar on teeth or tongue, resulting in bad breath.
- External Factors: Includes abnormalities in the respiratory or digestive systems such as Sinusitis, Tonsillitis, and GERD. Dental plaque that forms on the tongue is a major source of bad breath since the tongue covers a wide area of the mouth. Furthermore, the plaque is usually located in areas where it is difficult for oxygen to reach, suitable for the accumulation and growth of bacteria.
There are two diagnosis methods:
- Self-Test: Self-test for oral hygiene can be conducted by using a plastic spoon and scraping the top of the tongue and smelling. If you feel that such smell could be pathologic halitosis it is recommended to seek treatment promptly.
- Oral Hygiene Test: There are numerous equipment used for oral diagnosis. One such technology is Gas Chromatography, designed to digitally measure molecular levels of the three major VSCs in a sample of mouth air (hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide. It is accurate in measuring sulfur components of the breath and produces visual results in graph form via computer interface.
Guidelines for treating halitosis include reducing the factors that contribute to bad breath through proper oral hygiene. Focus on cleaning teeth and tongue, using dental floss to get to trickier spots, and do not allow a buildup of bacteria within the oral cavity from pathological sources such as cavity, a filling that is in a poor state, or gingivitis. Choose a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated, healthy, stress free, make sure to get enough rest, and exercise to ensure the body’s immune system is top notch.