Halitosis (Bad Breath)

    Halitosis or bad breath, morning breath, dragon breath or any other name you may want to call it still means any unpleasant odor that your mouth produces. That can be embarrassing especially if you are not aware that you have it. Most cases of halitosis are oral in nature and may occur at any time depending on what causes it. It may be periodical like when you wake up in the morning or it may be persistent.  The bacteria that are normally residing in our mouths are the main components in the causes of bad breath.

    The unpleasant odor our mouth produces as soon as we wake up is quite "normal". This is so because saliva production slows down when we sleep. Saliva helps wash away food particles that may cause bad breath. Aside from this, if we don't brush and floss our teeth properly and regularly, these food particles are left behind to rot and cause odor as well as tooth decay. Diseases of the gum and other tissues surrounding the teeth may also cause bad breath. Garlic. onion, coffee, cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing are outside factors that contribute to the production of unpleasant odors in the mouth. But not all causes of halitosis are oral in origin. Infections of the respiratory tract that includes the throat, sinuses and lungs are possible causes. Diabetes, kidney and liver ailments may also cause bad breath.

    It is very important to determine the cause/s of halitosis to be able to identify the kind of treatment that will be needed. The patient's  medical history should be meticulously taken by the medical or dental practitioner. A patient's diet and personal habits should also be discussed. Your teeth, gums and oral tissues will be examined by the dentist. Once the cause of the halitosis is determined after a thorough examination, the treatment plan follows. If the cause of halitosis might be systemic in nature, your dentist may refer you to your family doctor. If it is because of gum infection, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist).

    The good news is bad breath can actually be prevented. Regular and proper brushing of teeth, tongue, gums and palate after each meal; flossing and rinsing with mouthwashes are steps in ensuring fresh breath all the time. Visits to your dentist, at least twice a year, should be religiously done for dental examinations and professional teeth cleaning. Munching on raw carrots and celery is an effective way of cleaning away food debris. Drinking lots of water as well as chewing on sugar-free gum help stimulate saliva production necessary to wash away decaying food particles and odors. 

    Once halitosis has been detected, properly diagnosed and the treatment plan followed, fresh breath will not be far behind!