Halitosis: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: A foul odor from the mouth. HalitosisHalitosis is a commonly reported complaint. Whether in the form of occasional `morning breath', which nearly every otherwise healthy adult encounters, or rarer and more serious problems ranging from metabolic disorders to chest tumours, halitosis is said to affect nearly 50% of the adult population. To judge from the size of the market for mouthwashes and other breath fresheners it is a personal concern for a great many people. The most common cause of halitosis is the food you eat. Garlic, onions, some kinds of fish, and diets rich in fat and meat can all result in halitosis. When these foods are digested, volatile substances or chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream and are carried to your lungs where they are exhaled in your breath. The breakdown products of proteins in the body used for energy are exhaled through the lungs, and therefore missing meals, hunger, fasting, starvation, and low-calorie diets can also cause "hunger breath." Because there is no flow of saliva during sleep, putrefaction (decomposition or rotting) of saliva and debris in the mouth can lead to bad breath in the morning. Halitosis is also caused by: Smoking.
  • Alcohol.
  • Dentures.
  • Periodontal or gum disease that causes teeth to become loose, thereby creating pockets in the gums that harbour bacteria and lead to bad breath.
  • Chronic lung or sinus infections.
  • Breathing through your mouth because of enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
  • Mouth infections such as thrush (candidiasis).
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disorders.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Not brushing or flossing regularly.
  • Taking certain medications can also cause bad breath, especially those that reduce the flow of saliva and dry out the mouth (e.g., some antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, decongestants, and medications to reduce high blood pressure).
Symptoms: Many individuals with halitosis may be unaware they have it, or their symptoms may only be temporary. The odor often depends upon the source or underlying cause of the bad breath. Some common symptoms of halitosis include: Bad breath. Diagnosis: A complete medical and dental history should be taken. The patient will be asked about their dietary habits, tobacco use, medications, medical conditions and family history. A dentist will examine the patient's mouth. X-rays may be taken, and periodontal charting may be done to determine if the odor is due to gum disease. A halometer measures volatile sulfur compounds in the breath and may be used. Treatment: People who suffer from halitosis want to know how to get rid of halitosis. Some examples of measures an individual can do to prevent or get rid of halitosis include: Practice good oral hygiene to include: Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brush the teeth after meals.
  • Brush the tongue.
  • Replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
  • Use dental floss regularly.
  • Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth.
  • See your dentist at least twice a year.
  • Stop smoking/chewing tobacco-based products
In patients who suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), artificial saliva may be prescribed by a dentist. Dentists can also prescribe special toothpaste and mouthwash that can improve the symptoms of halitosis. NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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