Halitosis also is known as bad breath affects a quarter of people worldwide. Several factors may cause halitosis even though the vast majority comes down to poor oral hygiene. The main symptom of halitosis is the bad-smelling breath and in most cases, finding the cause of the bad breath is the first step towards treating this preventable condition.
An estimated 1 out of 4 people have bad breath on regular basis and are the third most reason that people seek dental care after tooth decay and gum disease by visiting dental clinics like Dentx Dentalcareand Pediatric center.
Causes of Halitosis or bad breath
The causes of halitosis are many like there are many sources of bacteria in our mouth. However, the following potential causes of halitosis include-
- Tobacco products
Consuming or using tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco can result in mouth odor in addition to increasing the chances of gum diseases that can cause bad breath.
The breakdown of food particles when chewing the food can result in the particles being stuck in the teeth resulting in bad breath. Some foods like onion, garlic can also cause bad breath.
- Dry mouth
Odors can build up in the mouth where the mouth is naturally dry due to insufficient saliva or because of specific diseases like xerostomia.
- Dental hygiene
Without proper dental hygiene like regular brushing and flossing and routine dental examination may result in the formation of bacteria causing unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth. Dentures that are not cleaned regularly or properly can also harbor bacteria that can cause halitosis.
The diagnosis by the dentist at Dentx Dental Care and Pediatric Centrefor halitosis is carried out by simply smelling the breath of a person with suspected halitosis and then rating the odor on a six-point intensity scale. The dentist may scrape the back of the tongue and smell the scrapings as this area may often be the source of the odor or aroma. There are varieties of sophisticated detectors that can rate odor precisely and these include-
- Halimeter that detects the low levels of sulfur
- Gas chromatography for measuring the three volatile compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide
- BANA test that measures the levels of specific enzyme produced by halitosis causing bacteria
- Beta-galactosidase test for detecting the levels of enzyme beta-galactosidase that have been found to correlate with mouth odor
The treatment for halitosis is can vary depending upon the causes or underlying health conditions. For causes related to oral health, the dentist at Dentx Dental Care and Pediatric Centremay recommend mouth rinses and toothpaste that kills the bacteria causing the plaque buildup.
In case, where the cause of halitosis is due to existing gum disease then you may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) who helps in removing the bacteria, tartar, and plaque that have built up. The dentist may also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations that result in the formation of bacteria.