Are you Suffering from Chronic Halitosis (Bad Breath)?

Do you suffer from chronic bad breath?

About 80,000 Bahamians suffer from this socially debilitating condition.

The scientific and technical name is called Halitosis.

As a result of its social impact, the public buy chewing gum, mints, sprays, or mouth rinses in excessive numbers in an attempt to improve their breath. What you should know is that none of these products actually cure the condition but just temporarily cover it up.

Bad breath is no laughing matter. In fact, in the US an estimated two billion dollars a year is spent on products. There are often ignored social repercussions of halitosis which can be crippling. It may make the individual withdrawn from social interaction with others, affect their professional lives as they intermingle with co-workers and can create embarrassment in their dating situations and love lives. In short, it affects sufferers from the time they awaken until they fall asleep. It has become a debilitating effect upon their quality of life.

What Causes Short Term Bad Breath?

Bacteria related Dental Diseases; Most common causes are dental diseases. Mouth bacteria are not the same. Bacteria associated with periodontal disease have a different type of bacteria that cause bone loss and bleeding.

Some people have stinker breath than others because some types of germs smell more offensive than others. Treating periodontal disease eliminates the bacteria responsible for bad breath from the bacteria in infected pockets. However, the bacteria in other areas of the oral cavity would need to be addressed.

Foods: Also, certain foods produce a bad odor — garlic and onions and other pungent foods. In fact, when garlic’s potent-smelling sulfur compounds are digested they form something called methyl sulfide which can’t be digested. Instead, it passes through the blood stream to your lungs and skin where it comes out of our pores. Your skin will smell like garlic. No one knows why but for some people, this smell can last for days.

Morning breath? When we sleep, we produce less saliva. Saliva acts as a buffer to neutralize and wash away bacteria. With less saliva, our mouth becomes dry and the acid level rises, leaving bacteria to produce foul smelling gases.

If your mouth is dry because of nervousness, excessive exercise, speaking, etc. you may experience short term bad breath. This is because your mouth is not moisturized.

Consistent dry mouth is called Xerostomia. Some common causes are damage to your salivary glands, the side effects of many drugs such as anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, and even allergy medicines like antihistamines.

Your Health: Persons with liver or kidney disease and diabetes tend to have bad breath as well. The buildup of wastes in the blood leads to a metallic taste in the mouth that produces the odor. Conditions like acid-reflux causes food to regurgitate to the esophagus which mix with bacteria and other enzymes to cause bad breath. Also, late stage liver disease and severe sinusitis, sinus infections or post nasal drip contribute to bad breath.

What is Long Term Bad Breath (Halitosis)?

To understand halitosis, you must understand the root cause. The root cause of halitosis is a build-up of Volatile Sulphur Compounds or VSCs excreted by bacteria.

These compounds form below the saliva layer on the back of the tongue as a result of the breakdown of proteins caused by bacteria. The worse of these odors are the fecal smell of methyl mercaptan, the rotting corpse scent of cadaverine, or finally the rotting meat smell of putrescine.

Not all sufferers of halitosis are aware of their condition. For some reason, most people can detect the bad breath of others, but not their own. There is little correlation between “bad taste”, sour or bitter taste and bad breath. So, it is difficult for an individual to gauge one’s own breath scent. It’s often up to family and friends to inform them of the condition but of course this is very subjective.

Today, we can objectively measure the degree of volatile sulfur compounds with the use of a Halimeter. It’s a simple and painless digital device that measures the VSCs from your oral cavity then give you a reading. We, at Center for Specialized Dentistry are pleased to be pioneers in this field. Our patients now know the facts about mouth odor and how to treat it.

 How to treat the embarrassing problem of Bad Breath?

  1. We have to first be certain that your gums are healthy and there are no periodontal pockets or cavities harboring odor causing bacteria. This done by measuring your pocket with a periodontal probe and examining digital x-rays.
  2. Tongue scrapping with a specially designed device called a Tongue Scraper is the most effective procedure to combat bad breath. This is because the top and rear of your tongue is like a shaggy carpet. It houses millions of germs below the surface and saliva where the environment has little or no oxygen. This means the type of bacteria that live there are anaerobic, which means they don’t need oxygen to survive. These bugs are the worse kind. They cause bone loss in pockets, fecal odors, decaying flesh odors and rotten eggs odor- hence socially offensive to another person.
  3. The game changer is the discovery of a Chlorine Dioxide mouth rinse. The discovery of this safe solution was founded in 1992 by a Periodontist named Dr. Jon L. Richter in Philadelphia, PA. Before then 3% hydrogen peroxide or baking soda were the most helpful remedies. Dr. Richter received a patent for his work to provide low levels of chlorine dioxide thereby allowing those afflicted with bad breath to avoid the embarrassment from their condition. Chlorine dioxide products exist today in the form of some mouth rinses. These mouth rinses are safe and do not require a prescription to use them.

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