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Bad Breath - Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Dr. T. Chandan 88% (31 ratings)
MDS, BDS
Dentist, Delhi  •  21 years experience
Bad Breath - Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can occur due to a multitude of reasons and is quite disconcerting. Chewing gum, using breath mints and mouthwash are just temporary solutions as they do not address the problem. Read on more to find all about the different causes, symptoms of bad breath and also about their prevention.

Causes:

  1. Food: If food particles, which are stuck in and around your teeth start decaying, they promote bacterial growth, which causes a foul odor in the mouth. Eating certain foods, such as spices, onion and garlic also cause foul odor. 
  2. Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco not only causes gum disease, but also causes a foul odor to be present, thus causing bad breath.
  3. Poor dental hygiene: If you do not brush daily, food particles in your mouth get stuck in your mouth between the teeth in particular, which decay and cause bad breath. A form of bacteria known as plaque forms over the teeth, which over time decays teeth and also causes foul breath.
  4. Dry mouth: A medical condition known as dry mouth, also known as xerostomia can contribute to bad breath as in this condition; the amount saliva produced from the salivary glands is reduced. This results in the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath.
  5. Medications: Some medications can cause foul breath in an indirect manner as they cause dry mouth as a side effect, which in turn causes bad breath. Other medications break down in your body and the chemicals, which the medicine contains can be carried on your breath.

Diagnosis:
Dentists would usually rate the odor from your mouth either by smelling or by using certain sophisticated odor detectors. The back of the tongue is often the source of smell and the dentist is also likely to scrape the region and rate its odor.

Treatment:

  1. Maintaining oral hygiene: If the bad breath is due to the formation of plaque, brushing and flossing on a regular basis will prevent its growth, thus reducing or eliminating bad breath. Using mouthwashes also kills bacteria, hence eliminating the bad breath causing bacteria from your mouth.
  2. Treatment of dental disease: Gum disease can also cause bad breath as in this disease, the gums pull away from the teeth, which gives scope for bacterial growth causing bad breath. Treating gum disease, thus would also eliminate the scope for bacterial growth and eliminate bad breath at the same time. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist.
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