Q. What on earth is Halitosis?
What on earth is Halitosis?
Sir William Osler: “The mouth is the mirror disease!”It is said that 120 multi-system diseases are often manifested in the oral cavity.In simple terms it is bad breath.No one appreciate it or points it out. Everyone despises it. Bad breath is one of the common causes of social embarrassment, broken relationships apart from being the ominous sign of poor health.
What are its causes?
A) Diet is the commonest: garlic, onions, a significantly non-vegetarian diet devoid of fruits and vegetables often result in bad breath.
B) Habits like alcohol intake, smoking and smokeless tobacco intake result in a malodour that raises quite a stink from the person’s mouth/makes quite a stench.
C) Neglect: Poor brushing, flossing or mouthwashing habits.
D) Dental causes: Decayed and broken Teeth, gum disease, very old and broken fillings, open root canals, tartar and calculus are also some other common factors.
E) Less common are; sinusitis with a postnasal drip, uncontrolled diabetes (the ketone breath), kidney failure, gastrointestinal disturbances, lung diseases (bronchitis and related disorders), cancer of the mouth, pharynx, throat area and the gastrointestinal tract may also cause halitosis.
F) Dry mouth or Xerostomia, where salivary flow reduces due to reasons like ingestion of multiple medications, salivary gland disease, diabetes etc. are also implicated.
How can I treat and/or prevent it?
A) Enjoying a sensible diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
B) Drinking 2-4 litres of water every day
C) Total abstinence from tobacco both the smoking and smokeless variety
Maintaining a disciplined oral care regimen that includes:
Twice a day brushing with a useful preferably fluoridated (unless otherwise contraindicated) or gumcare toothpaste.
Regular scaling and polishing (to eliminate tartar, calculus) and restoring the mouth by visiting your dentist are mandatory.
If indicated periodontal surgery may need to be performed.
Flossing and mouth washing at your dentist’s recommendation is important too.
Maintaining good general health with appropriate blood tests, X-rays and therapy as suggested by a competent medical professional is equally important.
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure