Halitosis, also commonly known as bad breath, mouth malodour or fetor oris, is an unpleasant or offensive odour emanating from the oral cavity.
Bad breath is not something to ignore and those who are close to the sufferer would certainly agree. This condition can cause serious psychosocial embarrassment and can occur in all age groups. Halitosis is caused by a range of factors which may be local (intraoral) or systemic (extraoral).
The local factors constitute about 85 percent with the systemic factors accounting for 15 percent. You might have clear observations about your breath but a check at a dentist at Bellevue Dental will provide you with a professional opinion and advise about your breath.
The most common of the local causes is poor oral hygiene resulting in plaque accumulating around the teeth, gum, and tongue. Plaque contains many families of bacteria with the most implicated in halitosis being the gram-negative anaerobic bacteria. This group of bacteria tends to thrive well in poorly oxygenated places like cavities and periodontal pockets.
These bacteria act on food debris to release a compound known as Volatile Sulphur Compounds and Volatile Organic Compounds. These compounds release pungent gases such as Hydrogen sulphide and Methyl sulphide which lead to foul smell emanating from the oral cavity.
There are several other causes of local halitosis ranging from periodontal diseases, oral ulcers, decreased salivary flow, dry mouth, type of food intake, mouth breathing, etc. The dentist will conduct a proper oral examination to identify the cause and recommend the type of treatment to administer.
Treatments for halitosis generally include dental fillings, scaling and polishing, curettage, and root planing. In many cases, recommendations for better oral hygiene may be enough to address the condition.
Systemic causes of halitosis are generally due to an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, sinus infection, chronic lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, and intake of some medications. In this case, a dentist at Bellevue Dental will refer the patient to the appropriate medical practitioner who can conduct an accurate diagnosis and provide relevant treatment.