Oh No – Halitosis (Bad Breath)

Dr. John Luther

Dr. John Luther, D.D.S. & Founder

April 8, 2014

What is halitosis?

Brush and Floss to fight bad breath.
Brush and Floss to fight bad breath.

Halitosis is another name for bad breath – and over 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis!  Halitosis is most likely caused by bacteria on your gums and tongue, which produces a malodorous sulfur compound from the decay of food particles and other debris in your mouth, as well as poor oral hygiene.

What else causes bad breath?

Other culprits responsible for bad breath are gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, a medical infection or a liver manlfunction. Dry mouth (xerostomia) and tobacco use can cause bad breath.  Stress, snoring, dieting, age and hormonal changes can also have an effect on your breath.  While not a sign of chronic halitosis, very spicy foods and coffee can be detected for up to 72 hours after eating or drinking.   Post nasal drip can cause an odor, too.

How does dry mouth make my breath bad?

Without the cleansing and rinsing action of saliva, the bacteria in your mouth sticks to your gums and tongue, producing the sulfur compound created from the food particles and debris in your mouth.  A mouthbreather will wake with a dry mouth; someone on a lot of medication may also suffer from medication xerostomia.  Both instances invite halitosis without proper cleaning of teeth, gums, tongue and sides of cheeks.

What can my dentist do for my halitosis?

Your dentist can help detect any physical problems that contribute to bad breath and will help determine the source of halitosis.  Regular cleanings and proper oral hygiene techniques can help alleviate the symptoms.

Excerpted from AGD Impact, November 1999.

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