Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can cause embarrassment, create social and psychological barriers, and even affect relationships.
Causes of Bad Breath
The majority of problems begin in the mouth.
- A sulfur compound produced by bacteria is the most common cause of bad breath in the oral cavity. Dead and dying bacterial cells release the sulfur compound, giving breath an unpleasant odor.
- The tongue’s surface is extremely rough. Bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices as well as the back of the tongue. As a result, large amounts of sulfur compounds are common in this area, making it a frequent site of origin for bad breath.
- Teeth attract bacteria containing plaque. If not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, it can result in large accumulations of bacteria and bad breath.
- People with periodontitis often experience bad breath because of bacteria accumulating in areas that are not easily cleaned. This includes deep pockets in the gums around teeth.
Fortunately, treatment is very effective for people who have bad breath of mouth origin.
- infections, especially in the sinuses or lungs
- diabetes mellitus (acetone smell to the breath)
- kidney failure (can produce a fishy odor)
- malfunction of the liver
- disorders of metabolism (foul, fishy odor that comes and goes and may be difficult to diagnose)
- fasting (without food, fat and protein break down resulting in an odor from the waste products of this metabolism)
Oral Health Treatment
- Treatment begins with a complete oral examination and health history. You may also have an odor-meter test done. This test accurately measures the level of volatile sulfur and extent of halitosis.
- Treat or repair any signs of periodontal disease and/or cavities.
- Eliminate oral infections and remove impacted teeth.
- Good oral hygiene is key, including cleaning the teeth and tongue. After treating and curing oral infection, ongoing care can help manage oral odor. Mouthrinses and toothpastes can also be effective. Ask us for a product that may be helpful to you.
Bad breath sufferers are encouraged to seek treatment because of the high success rate in managing the problem. Learn more about general, preventative dentistry at Carolina Center for Comprehensive Dentistry.