"What causes Halitosis"

Everything you need to know about bad breath

Bad breath affects an estimated 25 percent of people. There are a number of possible causes of halitosis, but the vast majority come down to oral hygiene.

It is also known as halitosis or fetor oris. it is relatively easy to remedy even though Halitosis can cause significant worry, embarrassment, and anxiety. This MNT Knowledge Centre article will discuss the potential origins of bad breath, diagnosis and how to treat it.

Fast facts on bad breath
Here are some key points about bad breath. Globally bad breath is estimated to affect 1 in 4 people very badly. Bad oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis. If particles of food are left in the mouth, their breakdown by bacteria produces sulphur compounds.

Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce mouth odour. The best treatment for bad breath is regular brushing, flossing, and hydration

What is halitosis?
Significant psychological distress is caused by bad breath which is a common problem that can cause distress. There are a number of potential causes and treatments available. Anyone can suffer from bad breath. After tooth decay and gum disease, Halitosis is the third most common reason that people seek dental care. To remove the issue, simple remedies like home remedies and lifestyle changes, improved dental hygiene and quitting smoking, can improve the issue. It is advisable to visit a doctor to check for underlying causes if bad breath persists.

The best method to reduce halitosis is good oral hygiene. This reduces the likelihood of gum disease and ensures that cavities are avoided and it is recommended that individuals visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning twice a year. An antibacterial agent or an antibacterial mouthwash might be recommended by the dentist. It will be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth, alternatively, if gum disease is present, professional cleaning may be required.


Potential causes of bad breath include:

Tobacco: Their own types of mouth odour are caused by tobacco products. Gum disease can also cause bad breath additionally, and this increases the chances of odour.

Food: The breakdown of food particles stuck in the teeth can cause odours. Some foods such as onions and garlic can also cause bad breath. After their breakdown products are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath. 

Dry mouth: Saliva naturally cleans the mouth. If the mouth is naturally dry or dry due to a specific disease, such as xerostomia, odours can build up.

Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing ensure the removal of small particles of food that can build up and slowly break down, producing odour. If brushing is not regular, a film of bacteria called plaque builds up. Inflammation of the teeth and gums called periodontitis develops. It can irritate the gums and cause inflammation due by to the plaque. Dentures that are not cleaned regularly or properly can also harbour bacteria that cause halitosis.

Crash diets: Fats producing chemicals called ketones causes halitosis due to the breakdown of foods. These ketones have a strong aroma.

Drugs: Odours are possible as certain medications can reduce saliva and hence increase odours. Breakdown and release chemicals in the breath is possible and produce odours. Individuals also are prone to bad breath when they take vitamin supplements in large doses to magnify Mouth, nose, and throat conditions. Sometimes, small, bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat and produce odour. Also, halitosis can be caused by infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses. 

Foreign body: Foreign body lodged in their nasal cavity, especially in children, cause bad breath.

Diseases: Due to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce, Some cancers, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases can cause halitosis, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause bad breath due to the regular reflux of stomach acids.

Rarer causes of bad breath

Other situations in addition to oral hygiene can also be to blame. Rarer causes of bad breath include:

Ketoacidosis: The bodies of diabetes patients can no longer use sugar and begin to use fat stores instead. When the insulin levels of a person with diabetes are very low. Ketones are produced and built up when fat is broken down. When found in large numbers, ketones can be poisonous and produce a distinctive and unpleasant breath odour. Ketoacidosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

Bowel obstruction: Breath can smell like faeces if there has been a prolonged period of vomiting, especially if a bowel obstruction is present.

Bronchiectasis: This allows for a build-up of mucus that leads to bad breath, it is a long-term condition in which airways become wider than normal, 

Aspiration pneumonia: A swelling or infection in the lungs or airways due to inhaling vomit, saliva, food, or liquids.

The specific odour of breath can vary depending on the cause of the problem. It is best to ask a close friend or relative to gauge your mouth odour, as it can be difficult to assess it yourself.

If no one is available, one way of checking the odour is to lick your wrist, leave it to dry, and then smell it. When you have halitosis, a bad smell in this area of the wrist is likely to suggest that.