What is halitosis?

Halitosis, which is popularly known as bad breath, consists of the bad smell or stench that occurs when exhaling through the mouth, at the moment when we are talking with other people. (1)

This problem of bad breath occurs due to the accumulation of bacteria that break down the remains of food that are not eliminated properly.

Note: Bad breath can be a symptom of underlying diseases in the oral cavity or digestive system. (2)

What causes halitosis?

Below we describe the possible causes, which can give rise to halitosis and to which you should pay close attention:

1. Improper oral hygiene

One of the first and perhaps the main cause of halitosis is related to inadequate oral hygiene.

In this sense, bad breath occurs due to the decomposition of food debris in the mouth, especially between teeth, gums and tongue, causing diseases such as gingivitis andperiodontitis, with the consequent appearance of bad odors in the mouth.

To highlight: Halitosis, if it is not attended to in an integral way , causes the social isolation of the patient, and can cause psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression . (3)

2. Food, alcohol and cigarettes

Similarly, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco are substances responsible for halitosis in humans. This is because the chemical compounds of alcohol and nicotine unbalance the bacterial flora and the pH of the mouth, in addition to producing dry mouth, which is a trigger for halitosis. (4)

3. Dry mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia , is a condition in which the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva . This condition causes the appearance of halitosis.

You should know: At night during sleep, saliva production decreases, so in the morning when we get up, we generally have bad breath.

4. Systemic diseases

Systemic diseases are those types of pathologies that due to their characteristics affect the entire organism and are also responsible for the appearance of halitosis.

This is how respiratory diseases, including influenza, diabetes, kidney and liver diseases, as well as gastrointestinal pathologies such as those caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria , are included as triggers for bad breath.

5. Oral infections

Another very common cause in the generation of bad breath is oral infections , especially those that are generated in the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and the tongue.

How can halitosis be cured?

Fortunately , there are simple strategies for the treatment of halitosis, which we mention below:

1. Maintain proper oral hygiene

One of the first strategies to be used to treat bad breath is to carry out correct oral hygiene on a permanent and personalized basis.

2. Avoid consuming foods that trigger bad breath

Foods such as garlic and onion, among others, are important for the nutrition of human beings .

However, excessive consumption should be avoided without adequate oral hygiene of foods and meals that contain sulfur components, which are very spicy by nature, as well as dairy products or vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce.

3. Avoid smoking

Nicotine from smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco accumulates in the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and in the teeth , causing halitosis, which is why its consumption should be restricted.

To highlight: It has also been described that nicotine causes dryness in the mouth, because it causes a drop in saliva production, preventing the correct elimination of bacteria in the mouth.

4. Consume enough water

We have already mentioned that dry mouth is one of the factors that cause halitosis , for which sufficient hydration is necessary to favor the elimination of bacteria from the oral cavity, in addition, water consumption allows the constant production of saliva to maintain moisture in the mouth.

5. Go regularly to dental check-ups

Another of the practices that must be carried out on a regular basis is to attend a consultation with a specialist in the oral area such as the dentist or dentist , in order to carry out checks on teeth, mucous membranes and tongue to maintain an adequate state of oral health. (6)

Important: It is also appropriate to go to other specialists such as otorhinolaryngologists or gastroenterologists, to treat systemic diseases in case of suffering from them and that cause halitosis.

Key Conclusions

  • Halitosis consists of the bad smell or stench, which is produced when exhaling through the mouth.
  • Halitosis can represent a symptom of underlying diseases, in the respiratory tract or in the digestive system.
  • Halitosis is linked to poor oral hygiene or suffering from systemic diseases.
  • Halitosis is perfectly treatable through proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.

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