OverviewSynonyms : Halitosis, Fetor oris
Bad breath is a common problem which may affect anyone at any age. About one in four people are thought to have halitosis (bad breath) on a regular basis.
- Unpleasant odor or taste in the mouth
- Dry mouth
- White coating on the tongue
Food and drink: Eating strongly flavoured foods, e.g. onions, garlic and spices, is likely to make breath smell. Strong-smelling drinks including coffee and alcohol, may also cause bad breath.
Smoking: Smoking is another cause of bad breath.
Medicines: Some types of medicines may also cause bad breath.
Other medical conditions which may cause bad breath such as diabetes and lung, throat, or nose infections (e.g. bronchiectasis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and sinusitis).
BANA test: It measures for a specific enzyme produced by halitosis causing bacteria.
Halimeter: It measures low levels of sulfur.
Gas chromatography: It measures 3 volatile sulfur compounds i.e. methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulfide and dimethyl sulfide.
- Floss: Flossing reduces the build-up of food particles and plaque from between the teeth.
- Brush teeth: Brush at least twice a day, but preferably after each meal.
- Avoid dry mouth: Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, both of which dehydrate the mouth.
- Chewing gum or sucking a sweet (sugar-free) can stimulate the production of saliva.
- Diet: Avoid onions, garlic and spicy food.
- Clean the dentures.
- Clean the tongue.
Diagnosing the cause of bad breath holds the key to its treatment. However, maintaining good oral hygiene, visiting dentist regularly, avoiding dry mouth causing medications and smoking and alcohol, taking xylitol gums and using xylitol toothpastes can help to improve the condition.
Drink plenty of water and eat fibrous fruits and vegetables.
Alcohol-free mouthwash rinses by adding baking soda are effective. Recently, chlorine dioxide rinse has been found to be effective in 99 per cent of the cases.