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What is Halitosis? Causes, Types and Treatment

Halitosis is a term that refers to the set of bad odors that are produced in a person’s mouth. It’s the official term for bad breath. It comes from the Latin word for breath, “halitus.”

This condition is very uncomfortable for those who suffer from it since it complicates social relationships and can be embarrassing. Also, it can be transient or permanent, which makes it even more difficult to address.

Halitosis can appear for many reasons. In fact, it can be a simple oral hygiene problem or a symptom of a more serious condition. In fact, experts estimate that almost 30% of adults suffer from it.

However, sometimes, it can be difficult for people to be aware of this problem or know how to deal with it. In this article, we’ll tell you all about halitosis and offer some tips to improve it.

Types of Halitosis

As we mentioned above, halitosis comprises all the unpleasant odors that occur in the mouth. This includes both those that occur occasionally and those that affect people chronically.

It’s important to know that there are two types of halitosis, depending on where it occurs:

  • Intraoral. Bad breath is produced by a factor present in the oral cavity (in the mouth, tongue, gums, etc.).
  • Extraoral. Bad breath is caused by some type of disorder outside the mouth, either in the digestive system, a respiratory disease, or a symptom of systemic disease.

In any case, this happens due to certain bacteria, which release unpleasant smelling substances. The most common form is intraoral halitosis, representing almost 90% of cases.

Causes of Halitosis

Halitosis can have many causes. Firstly, we should mention that the main cause is bacterial plaque buildup on the tongue or teeth. Bacterial plaque is a clear, sticky film that forms on the teeth from bacteria, food scraps, and saliva.

Also, you have to know that it’s normal for halitosis to occur in the morning when you wake up. When you produce less saliva and your mouth is drier, it’s easier for these bacteria that we mentioned to grow.

Therefore, anything that affects the amount of saliva can cause halitosis. Many drugs can cause this condition as a side effect. Likewise, situations such as being nervous or agitated and consuming certain drugs can lead to it.

On the other hand, its incidence seems to increase due to age. This can be due to different reasons: poorer hygiene, increased drug intake, the use of dental implants, etc.

Similarly, we can’t forget about tobacco. Nowadays, smoking is one of the main causes of bad breath.

Similarly, diet is another important cause of halitosis. This is because certain foods leave very characteristic and unpleasant odors in the mouth. Coffee is a perfect example.

Are there pathological causes of halitosis?

All the causes we’ve explained so far are very common and unrelated to any health problem. However, halitosis can also be a symptom of a condition. For example, periodontal disease or tooth decay.

Any type of infection in the pharynx, whether bacterial or viral, can also cause halitosis. Also, many systemic diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, and liver problems, have been related to this symptom.

What you can do if you have this problem

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the cause of your halitosis isn’t poor oral hygiene. Experts recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes after each meal. Also, it’s best to use floss and use mouthwash to complete the cleaning.

But if you can’t control the problem with these steps, you should consult your dentist. It’s also important for you to avoid tobacco, coffee, or foods with a very strong and characteristic odor. This is a very widespread problem, so you shouldn’t be embarrassed by it.

On the contrary, you should be aware of it and consult a doctor or an expert to find the cause and fix the situation.

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