Halitosis – Bad Breath Problem and The Causes

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Poor oral hygiene. Unbrushed teeth.Bad breath is linked to poor oral hygiene.

Halitosis, oral malodor, breath odor, foul breath, fetor oris, fetor ex ore, are just another terms for bad breath. Bad breath is caused by the waste products of oral bacteria, primarily some sulphur compounds. Causes of bad breath include:

  • Dry mouth: Saliva acts to cleanse the mouth. If the mouth is dry, more food particles will accumulate. Dry mouth can be caused by some medications, medical conditions affecting the salivary glands and constant mouth breathing.
  • Poor oral hygiene: If teeth are not brushed and flossed regularly, the tongue is not cleaned, the remaining food particle will collect bacteria. As the bacteria decompose the food, an odour can form.
  • Dieting: Individuals on diets may develop halitosis from not eating.
  • Foods, such as garlic and onions.
  • Medical disorders such as chronic sinusitis, post-nasal drip, respiratory infections, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorder and liver or kidney ailments.
  • Use of tobacco products.

Mouthwashes, mints and gum provide only temporary relief from bad breath. The treatment for bad breath will, obviously, depend on the cause. If an individual has persistent bad breath, he or she should first consult with a dentist. If the bad breath is not due to an oral condition, a referral to a medical doctor is indicated. For further on beating halitosis, read ‘How to Beat Bad Breath, Treat Halitosis.’

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