Halitosis is also known as bad breath. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis. It is the third most common reason people seek dental care after tooth decay and gum disease. The condition can cause significant worry, embarrassment and anxiety but, generally, it is relatively easy to fix. However, there's a big difference between the occasional bad breath that everyone experiences and the misfortune of having chronic bad breath.
What Causes Halitosis?
Halitosis has a range of causes, some of which are pretty serious. Two of the most serious are dental problems and medical issues.
Dental problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, halitosis is often the result of gum disease and tooth decay. Dental issues can encourage bacteria to hide in cavities or pockets around the gums caused by conditions such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Medical issues. Some viruses and illnesses, particularly those that affect the sinuses, nasal passages and throat, can result in halitosis. In children, an offensive breath could be an indication of a cold or sinus infection. The American Dental Association explains that bad breath can also be a sign of some liver and kidney diseases. In both cases, it is best to seek professional help if you are experiencing chronic bad breath.
Treatment of halitosis:
A dentist will simply smell the breath of a patient and rate the odor on a six-point intensity scale. The dentist may even scrape the back of the tongue and smell the scrapings, as this area can often be a source of the aroma. The best method to reduce halitosis is good oral hygiene; it ensures that cavities are avoided and reduces the likelihood of gum disease. The dentist may even recommend toothpaste that includes an antibacterial agent, or an antibacterial mouthwash. Alternatively, if gum disease is present, professional cleaning may be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth. If breath odor persists, the dentist will recommend you visit a doctor for further tests to rule out other conditions.
If you suspect you have halitosis or bad breath, suffer no more! Call our office for a visit to discuss the matter.