Halitosis is the medical name for bad breath. It describes an unpleasant smell in the breath which is detectable by other people.
Types of halitosis
Halitosis can be physiological/normal, pathological, or psychological.
Bad breath can be normal (physiological) in certain circumstances. This includes:
- In the morning when you first wake up.
- If you smoke or drink alcohol.
- After eating certain foods like garlic, onions, spices, cabbage, sprouts, etc.
- Fasting, being on a crash diet or a low-carbohydrate diet.
Eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, developing proper oral hygiene and brushing habits, avoiding stinky foods, avoid bad habits like smoking and alcohol.
This means there is a problem causing it. This is usually a problem in the mouth, but it can be coming from other sources, or caused by a specific illness or condition. Here are some reasons that cause bad breath and the ways to overcome the same.
1) Unhealthy oral cavity - Most of the bad breath and halitosis problems result due to coated tongue, decayed teeth and gum infections. Basically, people who don't take care of their oral hygiene are prone to such problems.
Solution - Clean your tongue, teeth and rinse your mouth properly to get rid of such stinky odor. A regular visit to your dentist for treating decayed teeth and gum infections.
2) Lack of hydration and dry mouth - If you are not drinking enough water, you can have bad breath. Saliva washes away smell causing bacteria. But not having enough water will lead to lesser saliva, which will lead to dead and rotting cells that will stink. Some systemic illnesses can cause dry mouth which also leads to bad breath.
Solution - Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily, at regular intervals. Also proper diagnosis and treatment of any systemic illness like diabetes which can cause dry mouth.
3) Allergies - Nose and asthma-related allergies, postnasal drip, diseases and infections of tonsils, sinus, salivary glands, etc. are also the leading causes of bad breath.
Solution - Make sure that you get rid of allergies and diseases via proper treatment and care. Also, hydrate more when you have any allergy, like sinus problems or tonsil infection, it helps in clearing allergies out.
4) Gastrointestinal issues- If getting gaseous feeling in your stomach is a common problem for you, then you might have bad breath too. Heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux are common causes of bad breath.
Solution - Avoid foods that can cause reflux and try light eating. It will take care of other health problems too. Proper treatment of the underlying illness may help.
5)Other Systemic illnesses –Diabetes, chronic lung, liver and kidney diseases also cause bad breath.
Solution – Proper diagnosis and treatment of underlying systemic illness.
In this case, the person doesn't actually have bad breath. Nobody else can smell it but the person becomes very anxious about it. An extreme version of this is called halitophobia, the fear of bad breath. This can result in odd behavior to try to minimize what they think of as their bad breath. For example, they may cover their mouth when talking, avoid or keep a distance from other people, or avoid social occasions. People with halitophobia often become fixated with teeth cleaning and tongue cleaning and frequently use chewing gums, mints, mouthwashes and sprays in the hope of reducing their distress. Treatment from a psychologist may help.
DR. SABNA K. P – BDS
Dental General Practitioner
Jabal Sina Medical Centre L.L.C
Delivering Healthcare That Works for You
Jabal Sina Medical Centre L.L.C is a flagship medical centre in Ajman from the founders of Ibinsina Medical Centre, an institution that has provided ambulatory healthcare for over 20 years. Having started in 1998, our founders brought substantial investment to create the first custom-built private hospital in the area and we pride ourselves on maintaining a philosophy of shared management with patients throughout the process. Operating mainly in primary care, this approach places the patient at the centre of the care cycle, with doctors, nurses and specialists working together to provide a service that addresses each patient's core individual needs. Our fully qualified team of professionals are committed to supporting you in your journey from sickness to health in a compassionate, caring and confident manner, taking care of all of your concerns and providing necessary referrals.