What is bad breath?
The medical term halitosis refers to the presence of a noticeable and unpleasant odour on the exhaled breath. More commonly referred to as bad breath, halitosis is a common condition that can affect anyone, and is a common reason why people visit the dentist.
Bad breath can be very distressing. Sometimes we are aware that our breath smells or has an unpleasant taste, and other times we are told by a loved one, a friend or a work colleague.
The secret to getting rid of this breath issue is to work out what is causing the problem. Sometimes the solution can be simple and immediately effective.
What causes bad breath?
There are many reasons why you could be suffering from bad breath.
The number one cause is inside your mouth. If you have untreated gum disease, tooth decay, infection and/or poor oral hygiene, this can lead to bad breath. Inside the mouth counts for 75.8% of the causes.
Interestingly, over 57% of these people have bad breath because their tongue has a coating on it that needs to be cleaned off. Another 24% have a coated tongue combined with the other above problems. 9% of the time the culprit is gum disease, mouth infection, diet, etc.
A simple test is to lick your wrist with your tongue, then smell your wrist. If it smells unpleasant, there’s a good chance your tongue is to blame.
Another cause is other medical problems. It can be coming from your blood stream out into your lungs, so that when you breathe out the bad breath comes from the lungs. It can also be coming through your nose, from your sinuses. Both of these account for about 4.5% of bad breath. Things such as sinusitis, uncontrolled diabetes, liver cirrhosis (fruity smell), kidney failure (rotten fish) and starvation can all cause bad breath. In these cases it’s important that you seek help from your GP and specialist and see the dentist regularly to help reduce the side-effects of any medical condition.
The last 4.5% of bad breath is caused by a combination of the above.
How to treat bad breath
The solution to bad breath originating in the mouth is to have a full dental examination, treat any disease and decay and get your tongue cleaned. Then, as part of your normal daily oral hygiene, incorporate cleaning your tongue. This should help keep unpleasant breath at bay.
Sometimes the problem can be short term and may be caused by sickness (fever), GI disorder, mouth breathing, sleep, diet, hangovers, dehydration, etc. If any of these applies to you, keep your fluids up so your mouth is moist, clean your tongue and teeth regularly, and the condition should resolve fairly quickly.
If you suffer from having stinky, unpleasant breath, the best thing you can do is seek help from the dentist. This way it can be diagnosed correctly and treated appropriately. For more information, please call our team on 13 13 16.