Bad breath (or as it’s known scientifically – halitosis) is a bad, often offensive odor coming from the sufferers mouth. The causes are many and we’ll look at those later but, if you have ever suffered from bad breath or been close to someone with bad breath – then you know that this can be embarrassing and dramatically effects the way we react and interact.
The Causes of Bad Breath
There are many reasons why you may suffer from bad breath. There may be an underlying medical condition or perhaps it’s something in your life style. If you suffer from this unpleasant condition, we recommend that you consult your family physician or dentist.
Some common causes of bad breath include:
- Poor mouth cleaning regime and techniques.
- If you suffer from tooth decay and gum disease.
- Certain foods.
- Smoking (cigarettes and pipe).
- Use of drugs or medicines that create a dry mouth.
- Infections of the mouth.
- Stomach problems.
If you fail to brush your teeth and clean your mouth properly this can lead to the development and growth of harmful bacteria on leftover food deposits lodged between the teeth. As these deposits decay, they may produce an unpleasant feeling inside the mouth and a bad odor.
Failure to brush your teeth regularly can also lead to a buildup of plaque which generates an unpleasant smell.
The tongue is another source of bad breath. Bacteria develop and multiply on the tongue and, if not treated, lead to bad breath.
Many different foods are associated with halitosis. These include, garlic, onions, curry, fish, coffee (yes coffee!) and some cheeses. Bad breath caused by food is usually a transitional phenomenon and one that is easily treated by a change of diet.
It’s well known that a variety of ailments can cause bad breath. The common cold can lead to a sinus infection where bacteria spread to the mouth and the throat causing an unpleasant odor.
Stomach problems can also cause bad breath problems. Stomach ailments often involve the release of gases from the stomach which can travel up into the mouth cavity causing bad breath.
Do you have bad breath?
We’ve seen in movies how actors cup their hands to their mouths to see (smell) if they have bad breath. In reality it’s not that simple. It’s possible to suffer from bad breath and not know it as most people around you will be too embarrassed to mention it.
One way of finding out if you have bad breath is to ask a close friend or family member as you will be used to the smell of your own breath.
Another way is to lick the back of your hand and wait for the saliva to dry. If it gives of a bad or unpleasant smell, then you may be suffering from halitosis.
Renowned dental surgeon, Dr Ilan Preiss, has, for the past 15 years, been diagnosing and successfully treating patients suffering from halitosis.
When arrange a consultation at Dr. Preiss’s clinic, he will determine if you suffer from halitosis using a specialized devise known as a HALIMETER. The device checks to see if a specific gas that indicates bad breath is present in your breath and if so, in what concentrations.
This initial measurement is used as a base line to see what improvement has been achieved after treatment and to determine if the patient’s breath smells less pungent.
Use of the HALIMETER and treatments to alleviate bad breath require that the dental surgeon performing the test and the treatment has a great deal of experience in bad breath disorders – Dr. Preiss, with more than 15 years of successful treatments is the expert you need!
✓ Bad odor
✓ An unpleasant taste
✓ A dry mouth
✓ The tongue feels as if it’s coated with an unpleasant layer
✓ People may try to avoid standing to close when talking to you
Treating and preventing halitosis
The best way to cure halitosis and prevent its reoccurrence.
- Arrange a consultation with Dr. Preiss where he will test your breath to determine if you suffer from halitosis and, if so, to what extent.
- Dr. Preiss will discuss with you your general health, specific health problems and your diet. He will also conduct a thorough examination of your mouth.
- Dr. Preiss will identify the underlying causes for the bad breath and prescribe a treatment regime.
- If there is evidence of gum disease, tooth decay, mouth infections etc., Dr. Preiss will treat the condition.
- You will be shown a series of techniques to clean your teeth and mouth that help prevent the reappearance of the bad breath.
- You will be provided with special mouthwashes designed specifically to combat the conditions that foster bad breath.
- After a period of time, you will be invited to return to clinic to assess the state of your breath with the aid of the HALIMETER and to ensure that the phenomena has not returned.
- Free of bad breath, you can enjoy life to the full without any fear or embarrassment.
The key is a proper diagnosis
If you suffer from chronic halitosis, then the best solution to obtain a professional diagnosis from your dentist or physician. It is vital, as with any medical consultation, to be totally open and honest with the dentist or doctor who is examining you. They need to be aware of all the facts so that they can fully understand the health problems you may have. This enables them to accurately identify and diagnose the causes and then initiate the appropriate course of treatment.
One of the more common clinical devices used to diagnosis halitosis is the Halimeter (portable sulfide gas monitor). The Halimeter measures the quantities of hydrogen sulfide in the mouth in parts per billion (ppb). Using a patented electrochemical voltammetric sensor, the Halimeter has provided doctors and dentists reliable and reproducible results for more than 20 years and has been demonstrated many, many times on TV programs such as The View, Good Morning America, and CBS Morning News by Dr. Harold Katz.
Getting correct and effective treatment
For more than a century, drug companies tried to find a solution for the problems of halitosis by encouraging the use of an alcohol based mouthwash. In fact, because alcohol tends to dry out the mouth and restrict saliva production, it was a counterproductive “solution”.
Over the years, dentists and doctors have learnt a lot about halitosis and its causes and treatment. Today, providing the symptoms and causes are understood, finding the correct treatment regime is usually possible.
The bacteria that are responsible for bad breath are a natural part of the body’s functioning and, in the right concentrations, are essential for our oral health. They are part of your oral flora and of the digestive process that breaks down proteins.
No amount of brushing, flossing or scraping can or should get rid of them. However, if you do suffer from bad breath, regular and proper oral hygiene can provide a temporary solution. However, for all those who feel that oral hygiene is all that is required to keep the problem “under control”, this can be very annoying and frustrating.
Today, there is a much simpler and clinically recognized treatment for halitosis. It involves interfering with the bacteria’s ability to chemically produce undesirable smells through the use of oxygenating compounds. Remember, anaerobic bacteria thrive in an oxygen free environment and, in fact, the introduction of oxygen into their environment is lethal to them.
A common halitosis treatment includes the use of mouthwashes and toothpastes, recommended by your dentist, that contain oxidizing agents such as chlorine dioxide or sodium chlorite which neutralize and control the sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath.
In the event that you’re suffering from a dry mouth, then your dentist will most probably prescribe a saliva substitute that you can use during the day to prevent a dry mouth. It’s also worthwhile, when looking for off the shelf oral care products, to see if they contain natural ingredients such as zinc gluconate, aloe vera, green tea, tea tree oil, xylitol, CoQ10, glycyrrhizic acid and oral probiotics such as K12 and M18