Updated 11 February 2021
Common Symptoms of HalitosisSome of the common symptoms of bad breath include:
- A foul smell or odour coming out from your mouth whenever you open it to talk,
- The foul smell persisting even after brushing your teeth,
- A whitish or yellowish film appears on the surface of your tongue,
- A chronic dryness of your mouth,
- Gingivitis (gum disease at its early stage),
- Periodontitis (gum disease at its late stage),
- Tooth decay,
- Mouth infections.
What causes Bad Breath?Bad breath is neither contagious nor contracted from anyone. Halitosis occurs mainly due to poor oral health and dental hygiene. With a lack of proper care for your oral health, the food particles which are normally trapped between your teeth are metabolised by bacteria that then release volatile sulphur compounds which are foul smelling and responsible for your bad breath. Other oral health issues can cause bad breath, as highlighted before such as chronic dry mouth, infections of the mouth, throat, and nose, abscess, gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay. Other medical conditions can equally cause bad breath and these are:
- Anorexia nervosa,
- Digestive system health problems,
- Kidney failure,
- Chronic sinusitis leading to post-nasal discharge,
- Bile and acid reflux.
- Some foods, like cauliflower, onions, garlic or other foods with strong flavours,
- Smoking of cigarettes, which can deprive the mouth of much needed oxygen which promotes the development of halitosis,
- Drinking of alcoholic beverages, which can lead to chronic dry mouth,
- The use of certain medications, which can also cause chronic dry mouth and promote bad breath.
Halitosis Testing & DiagnosisTypically you should pay your dentist a visit when it seems as if your halitosis fails to go even after you have observed good oral hygiene. If you also experience tooth sensitivity or you have a discolouration of your teeth, you should see your dentist. Your dentist will carry out a physical examination of your mouth while asking questions with regards to your dental hygiene, eating, drinking, and smoking habits amongst other questions. Your dentist would also ask if you have been using any prescription and/or non-prescription drugs. A test to compare the smell of breath from your mouth and nose may be conducted. This will help your dentist to determine if the causative factor for your halitosis is emanating from your mouth, nose or even further in your body. When your dentist is unable to determine an immediate cause for your bad breath, he or she may refer you to see your GP for further tests and examinations to be conducted.
What are the Treatment Options for Bad Breath?After a proper examination of your mouth, your dentist may treat you for the dental disease found. This can be gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth decay or abscess. Your dentist would also recommend that you undergo professional dental cleaning. You may also cater for your halitosis concerns at home by:
- Brushing your teeth daily and at regular intervals. The preferred number of times to brush your teeth daily is twice (in the morning and before you go to bed at night).
- Consuming a lot of clean drinking water.
- Making use of mouthwash and breath fresheners.