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Halitosis Treatment

BAD BREATH

Bad breath or Halitosis affects a large portion of population and is asked to be treated because of social problems rather than biological reasons.

What causes bad breath?

In about %90 of the cases, the origin of the odor is in the mouth itself. Bacteria present on the tongue surface, calculus and periodontal diseases, decrease in saliva, oral infections, decays and tooth infections, poor oral hygiene, food impaction are the common causes of halitosis.

The second major source is respiratory tract infections (%8). Bad breath is rarely originated from digestive system diseases like stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux (%1). The other conditions are extremely infrequent: Diabetes mellitus cause fruity acetone smell, liver failure or renal failure cause ammoniacal smell. Besides these some drugs, alcohol consumption, smoking, food (garlic, onion etc.) and fasting cause faul breath.

Treatment

First the origin is identified. Medical history should be considered. Since the source is generally in the mouth, careful oral examination must be done.

Good oral hygiene must be acquired through daily care. In addition to teeth, surface of tongue should be brushed as well. Dental flossing will remove the bacteria present under gum line. Poor restorations or dentures (plastic false teeth) provide perfect place for bacterial accumulation. In that case they should be renewed. Digestion of food debris by the bacteria result in the release of sulphur molecules which are responsible for the faul odor. That's why cavities should be restored with dental fillings. Removal of calculus will allow periodontal healing.

Despite elimination of all factors in the mouth, odor can be still present. In that case other possible factors are consulted with an ENT specialist or a gastroenterolog. In some cases, although there is no bad odor present, patient thinks he has. This is called pseudohalitosis. Based on the test results, the delusional situation is explained to the patient.