The halitosis is a symptom to be regarded in the promotion of health and the prevention of the diseases.

The factors responsible for the halitosis have an oral origin at 90%. It is usually possible to cure this state when the origins are identified, and a lot of solutions contribute to keep the mouth free from unpleasant odours. The dental hygienist can help you to understand, control, and eliminate the halitosis.

Types of halitosis

Occasional

The digestion of some food can affect the breath for a period between 24 to 72 hours. The morning breath is also temporary, and you can cure it by eating a healthy breakfast, followed by an appropriate teeth brushing, and the use of dental floss.

Chronic

The chronic halitosis persists in spite of a good oral hygiene. Its cause can be oral or linked to a general medical condition.

Causes

Bad oral hygiene

Teeth brushing carried out two or three times per day, and the use of the dental floss at least once a day, prevent the accumulation of the harmful bacteria of the biofilm (dental plaque). However, researches have shown that keeping the teeth and the gums cleaned, is not always enough to stop the halitosis. For a fresh breath, the cleaning of the tongue is as important as the daily teeth brushing. Actually, the papillae and the cracks of the tongue contain dead cells, biofilm (dental plaque) and food remains which can be eliminated only by the mechanical action of a toothbrush, or ideally, by a tongue scraper, especially designed for this purpose. Any other surface which can retain the biofilm (dental plaque), must also be perfectly cleaned (e.g.: dental prosthesis and apparatuses).

Dental problems

Even if the oral hygiene is good, the breath may be affected by the presence of micro-organisms of decay, abscess, and gums diseases (gum disease and periodontitis). As long as the required treatment has not been carried out, the metabolism of these micro-organisms generates the sulphurous volatile compounds causing the halitosis.

Dryness of the mouth (xerostomia)

Saliva has an antibacterial and antifungal power. Also, it ensures the regulation of the pH: too much acidity increases the risk of decay, and the alkalinity is conducive to the formation of tartar. Oral breathing, stress, several drugs, some medical conditions, and the hormonal changes, for example, can cause the dryness of the mouth, and the reduction of the salivary flood is conducive to the halitosis.

Medical problems

Studies confirm that the halitosis is linked with various medical conditions, such as diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorder, diseases of the liver or of the kidneys, and affections of the respiratory tracts (e.g. sinusitis, asthma, laryngitis, etc.)

Habits

Tobacco and alcohol can affect the odour of the breath. The control of these habits plays a major role in the prevention of halitosis.

Food

The cooked dishes with garlic, onion, or some spices can affect the breath. People who have a diet, and who neglect a meal, or who fast, can have a persistent bad breath, even if their oral hygiene is good. Balanced meals and healthy snacks can help to cure it.

Solutions

A suitable daily oral hygiene, healthy habits of life, and good care given by a qualified professional can eliminate most of the causes of halitosis. These professional cares must include the complete removal of the tartar, above and below the gum, every six months or as regularly as your dental hygienist recommends it to you, according to your oral condition.

Besides to help you understand the link between oral health and general health, the dental hygienist must give you advices adapted to your needs. Control of gums diseases also contributes to prevent the progression or the complications of other diseases.

You don’t have your toothbrush at hand, and you are anxious about your breath?

Recourse to sweeties or to a mouth-rinse containing alcohol can cause more harm than good. The bacteria of the biofilm (dental plaque) transform sugar into acid; the mouth-rinse has a temporary effect, and the alcohol which it contains dries out the mucous membranes.

Here are some suggestions much more effective

  • To rinse one’s mouth with water
  • To chew a no sweetened gum, in order to stimulate the saliva which acts as a natural cleaner
  • To crunch a celery, a carrot, or an apple. This food help to eliminate the food remains, and the chewing process increases the salivary flood
  • To observe a balanced diet. A food deficiency can contribute to gums diseases and halitosis.