Halitosis, or bad breath, can be a periodic or persistent unpleasant odour coming from your mouth. For most people, the millions of bacteria that live in the warm, moist conditions in the mouth are the primary cause of bad breath. Some types of bad breath, such as “morning breath”, are considered normal because the saliva that usually washes away the odor in our mouths is reduced as night.
The following conditions may be a contributing factor of bad breath:
- Bad dental hygiene caused by poor brushing and flossing.
- Infections in the mouth such as gum disease.
- Respiratory tract infections such as sinus, lung, and throat infections.
- Foods, such as garlic, onions, and tobacco use.
- Dry mouth.
- Illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, sinus disease, kidney disease, lung disease, and many others.
- Psychiatric illness can cause patients to perceive that they have bad breath when in fact they don’t.
Symptoms Of Bad Breath
Someone who suffers from bad breath may not know he or she has bad breath because their nose has become accustomed to the unpleasant odor. Sometimes people only notice they have bad breath when others detect it during speech and recoil away, or when someone tells them.
Some symptoms associated with bad breath include:
- Poor dental hygiene, plaque, food debris between teeth.
- Infections in the mouth may cause red and swollen gums.
- Respiratory tract infections such as sore throats, stuffy noses, swollen lymph nodes, and discolored mucous.
- External agents such as cigarette can appears on fingers and coffee stains on teeth.
- Dry mouth which causes difficulty in swallowing foods.
- Systemic illnesses like lung disease, diabetes, and kidney failure.
Diagnosis Of Bad Breath
Your dentist or physician can notice your breath and examine your medical history and any medications you are taking that may be causing it. Something the smell of your breath can be an indicator of the cause. Fruity smelling breathe can be a sign of diabetes while a urine smell can sometimes indicate kidney failure. In some cases, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist and a diagnostic test may be performed to diagnose the cause of your bad breath.
Prevention And Treatment Of Bad Breath
If the cause of your bad breath is due to a dental problem, the issue can often be prevented by daily brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash. Drinking lots of water is also a good idea since it increases saliva production. Occasionally rinsing out your mouth to wash away food particles and chewing on sugar-free gum, carrots, and celery to loosen plaque is also a good idea. Treatments for bad breath can vary depending on the cause. If you have bad breath in conjunction with painful, swollen gums, loose teeth, or if you have a fever, sore throat and cough, you should call your dentist or physician and see if you have an underlying condition that needs requires medical attention.