Bad breath can have different causes. However, most causes are to be found in the oral cavity. As bad breath is a sensitive and delicate issue, it is not always easy to talk about. Many people do not even know that they are suffering from bad breath and are also not alerted by their fellow men.
• Oral Causes
• Non-Oral Causes
• Medicamentous Causes
• Bad breath caused by aliments
• Elimination of the bacteria causing bad breath
• Restoration of dentures
• Mouth flushing
In dentistry following reasons for bad breath can be identified:
- Foetor ex ore Bad breath originating from the oral cavity
- Halitosis Bad breath not originating from the oral cavity
- Bad breath caused by medicaments
- Bad breath caused by aliments
- Bad breath caused by smoking
In the last couple of years it has become common to use the term "Halitosis" for all forms of bad breath.
Based on recent studies it is assumed that about 50% of the population is suffering from bad breath. At least half of the concerned regard bad breath as a real problem affecting their atrtractiveness.
Often people are not even aware that they are suffering from bad breath. As bad breath is considered a tabu-topic, people are usually not alerted or warned by their fellow men.
Recent studies have shown that the reason for bad breath can in 80-90% of the cases be found in the oral cavity. In particular volatile sulfur compounds are responsible for bad breath. These sulfur compounds are produced by certain bacteria when food, blood or cells are being decomposed.
The following oral reasons for bad breath are known:
- Surface of the tongue
- Insufficient hygiene
- Gingivitis (Trench mouth)
- Untended Prostheses
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Certain tumors and diseases with oral symptoms
On the surface of the tongue approximately 60% of all oral bacteria and germs can be found. It is therefore no surprise that the most common reason for bad breath originates from the surface of the tongue.
- Chronic tonsilitis (permanent inflammation of tonsils) Responsible for about 70% of the non-oral causes
- Chronic sinusitis (permanent inflammation of nasal cavity) Responsible for about 20% of the non-oral causes
- Chronic rhinitis (permanent cold)
- Foreign substances in the nose (rather seldom)
If suspicions for non-oral causes are raised, a checkup for systemic deseases (concerning the whole body) should always also be made.
- Alcoholic excess
Further special aliments, such as onions, chees and coffee can cause bad breath.
Smoking takes an exceptional position with bad breath. On the one hand individuals try to cover bad breath by smoking, and on the other hand smoking generates a characteristic bad breath of its own.
Generally the treatment is determined by the diagnosed cause. In cases of oral causes the treatment may consist of the following:
- Elimination of the bacteria causing bad breath
- Restoration of dentures enabling hygienic clean conditions
- Mouth flushing
Elimination of the bacteria causing bad breath
As about 60% of all bacteria is on the surface of the tongue it takes the central role in the treatment. For cleaning the surface of the tongue a normal toothbrush or a special scraper may be used. The tongue should be cleaned untill only a little coat remains visible. Faucial reflexes during the treatment are not uncommon. The feeling of nausea can be lessened by closing one's eyes.
Bad breath caused by Parodontitis and Gingivits is treated by professional cleaning of the teeth by a dental hygienist.
The treatment of bad breath caused by xerostomia (dry mouth) is often difficult. In many cases the reason for a dry mouth is mouth breathing caused by narrowed or blocked noseup
Restoration of dentures
Caries must be treated by the dentist as caries is a perfect shelter for bacteria.
In cases of strong Halitosis (bad breath) antibacterial mouth flushing is strongly recommended in addition to the mechanical cleanining. Chlorhexidin has proven to be the most effective substance for mouth flushing and is amongst others contained in Chlorhexamed and Plak Out.