Halitosis / bad breath

Halitosis is a technical term for “bad breath”.

Halitosis is a common oral health condition that is found in at least 25% of the population. This percentage is higher in sectors of society whose standards of oral hygiene are slightly lower than required.

It is said to be the third most common reason for patient attendance to the dentist, after gum disease (second) and tooth decay (first)

Symptoms range from the direct smell of food, which would have been recently consumed, to the direct smell of faeces from the oral cavity in rare extreme cases.

Most other symptoms range from mild to severe odour, depending on the origin of the problem and severity of the causative factors.

*Disclaimer* This article does not replace  a thorough examination examination by a relevant health professional. It does not constitute official dental/ medical opinion.

FYI: Most of the information contained in here is readily available on the internet, for the sake of fact verification and broadening your understanding of your subject matter Tel: 010 597 5095 for consultation

Foul odour origins vary from oral and perioral origin to Internal organs and certain chronic diseases Oral & perioral causes – usually associated with aggregation of bacteria and strongly linked to poor oral hygiene

1. Dental cavities…. most commonly contain bacteria which produce odour for as long as the bacteria is eating up dental tissues in a process called dental caries / tooth decay.

Tooth decay is caused mainly by excessive consumption of sugary foods and worsened by poor oral hygiene.

2. Gum disease …. usually as a result of plaque bacteria that decimates gum tissue and produces odour in the process.

This condition is aggravated by poor oral hygiene.

The severity of gum disease ranges from mild irritation and inflammation of the gums to very severe necrotising forms of gum disease.

Chronic gum disease leads to periodontal disease, whereby the jaw bone and other tissues surrounding the teeth get damaged, sometimes irreversibly.

3. Sinusitis …… thick green mucus clogs up the sinuses and nasal cavities.

The odour from this bacterial aggregation expresses itself through both the oral and nasal cavities.

4. Tonsillitis ….. Hot on the heels of a sinus infection comes a post – nasal – drip. This spreads infections to the back of the throat and, subsequently (if untreated), the lungs.

The worst odour from the tonsilitis occurs when bacteria  surrounds the granules that form a around infected tonsils.

5. Throat infections …. infections often related to respiratory infections.

Odours from here manifest in both the oral and nasal cavities.

6. Oesophagus blockages, lesions and acid reflux can also cause odours that express themselves through the oral cavity

7. Food debris….. poor oral hygiene leads to food staying in the mouth for long  and producing sulphur byproducts that produce odours.

8. Tobacco…. tobacco on its own has a distinctive odour that permeates the oral cavity.
On the other hand, the chemicals in tobacco products aggravate gum disease.

This combination is often not good for fresh breath.

9. Chronic diseases …… Patients with liver failure, diabetes, renal failure and cancer are closely associated with certain smells that manifest in odours coming out of the oral cavity.

10. Miscellaneous …. Drugs often break down in the various organs like the liver, kidneys and the gut; this leads to the odour produced coming out of the oral cavity.

“Ketotic breath” – this is a phenomenon that occurs in those who train to reduce weight or are fasting for religious and other health reasons.

At some point in their fat breaking (lipolytic) routines, they start producing ketones as byproducts.

When this happens, a distinctive smell (“ketotic breath”) is produced that manifests itself through the oral cavity.

A. Avoid sugary foods and drinks overall to reduce chances of tooth decay and prevent most chronic diseases.

Sugar is the root of all evil, then follows money 🤣🤣🤣🤣🙈🙈🙈.

B. Brush twice a day (after every meal if possible) in order to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and food debris that runs loosely in the mouth.

Floss daily as much as possible.

C. Seek treatment from a dental professional for tooth decay, gum disease and any other suspicious conditions you may identify through various symptoms.

Bad breath and bleeding gums alone should raise a red flag that makes you seek help.

NB NB NB NB

Bleeding gums is a serious problem that may lead to complications in other vital organs such as the brain and the heart.

On rare occasions, bleeding gums have led to problems with the reproductive organs of both males and females.

(More on bleeding gums in future articles)

D. Do not leave respiratory problems unattended.

There’s a famous belief that:

“If most sinusitis and rhinitis were to be treated on time, we could avoid the majority of chest infections like bronchitis”

Do not nurse chronic diseases on your own without seeking medical attention.

Even doctors also resort to special investigations like Xrays and blood tests in order to make sure they don’t overlook anything.

E. Avoid smoking as much as you can.

Brush frequently after smoking and get into the habit of chewing sugar free chewing gum after every meal as well as after smoking.

Chewing gum (sugar free) may be used also after all meals that contain foods like garlic and onions.

*Social dynamics*

The social dynamics of bad breath are widely known in many situations like friendships, family relations, intimate relationships and communal working spaces.

Please confide in “your trusted people” regularly and ask if they can detect any foul smell.

In the event that you notice a problem with a close social contact, find tactful ways of getting them to seek assistance with a dental professional.

Do not deepen the stigma by  speaking to people who will encourage gossip.

*Disclaimer*

This article does not replace  a thorough examination examination by a relevant health professional.

It does not constitute official dental/ medical opinion.

FYI: Most of the information contained in here is readily available on the internet, for the sake of fact verification and broadening your understanding of your subject matter

Tel: 010 597 5095 for consultation

Dr Komestsi Mokuele – also known as Dr K, is a graduate of the University of Witwatersrand -BDS-(WITS). Dr K often appears in the media and is frequently invited to talk on various subjects related to dentistry at both higher institutions and organisations involved in spreading the messages of dental health. In addition to this Dr K  has made several media appearances as a dental subject matter expert on various radio stations as well as SABC TV channels.

Shot of an attractive young woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom at home

Please call 010 5971950 or 060 896 0350 to book an appointment!