Bad breath, known as Halitosis, affects 50% to 60% of the population. It is generally agreed that the source of bad breath is a group of sulphur-containing compounds which are produced in the mouth or nasal areas. These compounds are created by the breakdown of bacteria and are known as Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSC).
There are many causes of bad breath but the main ones are diseased gum tissues and tooth decay. Gum diseases such as gingivitis or the more advanced periodontitis need to be detected immediately. With periodontitis, the gum loses its attachment to the tooth and a pocket develops in between. Within this pocket, bacteria accumulates that can produce VSCs.
Other causes of bad breath
Dryness of the mouth can also cause halitosis. Saliva is a strong antibacterial substance and without it, bacteria can grow. A dry mouth can be caused by certain diseases or as a side effect of medicines taken to treat conditions such as high blood pressure.
Disturbances of the digestive system may cause bad breath but the stomach is not generally the main source. Eating foods such as onions and garlic will result in bad breath.
The first step in treating bad breath is detection. A test for separating nasal and oral bad breath is to pinch the nose, breath-in, and then close the mouth.
Mouthwashes reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and help reduce halitosis. They are only partially effective and if used as the only method of combatting bad breath, the improvement will only be temporary.
Tongue cleaning is also an essential factor in beating bad breath. The cleaning should be directed towards the back of the upper surface of the tongue. This can be done with a specially designed tongue scraper which can be bought from our practice.
Sugar-free chewing gum will increase saliva flow and help combat a dry mouth.
If you have bad breath and you suspect it is a symptom of a dental-related problem, then please take advantage of our Free Examination so we can begin to address the problem immediately.