What is Halitosis?

What is Halitosis?

Halitosis, in simple terms, means bad breath. This is an extremely common condition. It is mainly caused by bacteria that live in the surface of the tongue and in the throat. These bacteria are sulphur-producing bacteria. The bacteria start to produce sulphur by breaking protein at a rate higher than normal. As a result of this sulphur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat. These sulphur compounds are volatile and have a strong offensive odor. So the sulphur producing bacteria are the main culprits in the formation of bad breath.

Bad breath may lead to poor self esteem

A person with a bad breath can also suffer from a lack of self confidence and a poor self esteem as people tend to make critical comments about him or turn their heads away which causes them embarrassment.

Bad breath is mainly caused as a result of dryness of mouth

One of the major causes of bad breath is a dry mouth. Dry mouth may be caused by a number of reasons like getting thirsty, being dehydrated or even when the person is nervous, anxious or under stress. Another major cause of dryness of mouth is a poor oral hygiene. Bad breath may also be caused after consumption of foods with strong odors like onions and garlic. Smoking is also associated with bad breath.

Associated symptoms of bad breath

Halitosis may be associated with a number of other symptoms. Some of the common associated symptoms of bad breath are listed as below:

1. A whitish colored or yellowish colored coating on the tongue.
2. Bleeding and sore gums.
3. A sour, bitter or a metallic taste in the mouth that is present constantly.
4. Dryness of the mouth and the tongue.
5. Constant bad breath that does not go away even after brushing the teeth or gurgling.
6. Constant secretion of saliva in the mouth
7. Frequent urge to clear the throat.
8. Bad breath that is worse in the morning.

Treatment for Halitosis

Treatment for halitosis mainly depends on the cause of bad breath. In most situations a person is able to get rid of his bad breath by maintaining a good oral hygiene. This is achieved by brushing the teeth regularly and gurgling the mouth with water after consumption of food. Some medically formulated mouthwashes and toothpastes are very effective in overcoming a bad breath. Even keeping oneself hydrated by drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water, especially after eating food can play a significant role in fighting bad breath. If bad breath is a cause of other medical conditions like bleeding gums or infections of the gums or other oral infections, the dentist can resort to the use of antibiotics to treat the underlying medical condition.

Sometimes halitosis may be associated with sinus problems. In these cases the doctor may prescribe a nasal spray to treat the underlying cause. It has to be understood that halitosis is not infectious and the problem can be solved after proper consultation with doctor or the dentist.

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