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Causes and the treatment of bad breath (halitosis)

Posted Dec 16 2010 5:07pm

Foetor oris or halitosis are the medical terms that refer to bad breath. This can be an embarrassing problem that may lead to social problems. It is a common condition but many avoid to admit having it.

The causes of bad breath are:
  • Eating certain foods as garlic and onions.
  • Hunger and fasting for a prolonged period of time.
  • Tooth decay or dental caries.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Gum disease as periodontitis.
  • Smoking, as it can cause periodontitis.
  • Unusual dryness of the mouth, which is known as xerostomia. This can normally occur during sleep. Some medications can cause dry mouth as antihistaminics, decongestants, high blood pressure medications, Parkinson's disease medications.
In the above causes, the cause of bad breath was from the mouth. However the cause can originate from other sites as the nose and the paranasal sinuses. 
Other causes of bad breath include: 
Respiratory infections, sinusitis, tonsillitis and gastro-oesophageal reflux (GERD).

What is the treatment of halitosis ?
  • Maintain a good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice daily (especially after eating sugary food). Brush your tongue as this will brush away all food remains and bacteria. Use a dental floss every day to remove food remains between your teeth. The following video shows the correct way to brush your teeth:

  • Drink water regularly or chew a sugarless chewing gum. This will stimulate production of saliva which will wash away remained food particles and bacteria.
  • Avoid eating foods containing garlic and onions.
  • If bad breath persists, schedule a dental checkup. A normal individual must do a dental checkup every 6 months.

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