Halitosis is the offensive odor emanating from the mouth. It is often an embarrassing condition. Bad breath may be a warning sign of other health problems. Majority of the people suffers from mild halitosis at
times, but when the problem becomes permanent, a doctor needs to be consulted. Halitosis may result from intra oral or extra oral reasons.
Intraoral causes for bad breath include; poor oral hygiene, dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis, food stagnation in the interdental space, eating foods like raw onion and garlic, xerostomia or dry mouth,
tonsillitis, systemic diseases like cancer, diabetes, kidney disorders, etc.
Extra oral sources of halitosis are bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, gastritis, etc.
Testing for halitosis can be done at home. Exhaling after covering the mouth and nose with hand gives a bad smell if you have halitosis. Many people may have bad breath only in the morning. It is because of the
reduced salivary flow during sleep and goes off after brushing teeth. Long term smoking can also cause halitosis.
Regular check ups with a dentist is needed to find out the exact cause of bad breath. If you have persistent halitosis, keep a list of food you eat and medications you consume. Inform your dentist regarding recent
surgeries that you underwent. If the cause of halitosis is not intraoral, the dentist refers the patient to a general physician for further tests.
Treatment of halitosis is planned after the proper diagnosis of the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating dental diseases and regular cleaning of teeth are necessary for eliminating mouth odor. Brushing
the teeth twice a day and cleaning mouth after every meal helps to reduce bad breath. Dental hygienist recommends using a brush to clean the tongue as there may be many bacteria present between the papillae of the
tongue. Mouth rinses give additional protection against microorganisms. Dental flosses can be used to clean the interdental spaces. Quit tobacco chewing and smoking. Ask your GP for some tricks to kick out this habit.