“Approximately 75% of cases of bad breath or halitosis originates in the mouth. But bad breath can also be caused by gastric, sinusitis or advanced gingivitis problems,” says Mark Wolff, Dental Surgeon, Director of Dental Surgery Campus Stony Brook State University of New York.
One of the essential steps when treating bad breath is to determine its cause. Once your dental health professional has determined what is causing the bad breath treatment can start one.
Bad breath may be due to the following causes:
- External: foods such as onions and garlic, beverages such as coffee, alcohol, snuff and
- Poor oral hygiene: when teeth have plaque and food debris
- Mouth disease: gingivitis and periodontitis
- Dentures: Dentures may have plaque and food debris, and must be cleaned daily
- Tonsils: if the tonsils are cryptic areas (holes) food debris can get caught in them
- Respiratory tract infections: sinusitis and strep throat or lungs
- Dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia) can be a problem in the salivary glands, medicines, the habit of mouth breathing, radiation therapy or chemotherapy
- Systemic diseases: diabetes, liver, kidneys, lungs or sinuses, or gastrointestinal disorders
What is the relationship between oral disease and systemic diseases?
Recent studies suggest a relationship between oral disease and systemic diseases (diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, stroke, respiratory infections and Alzheimer’s disease) and as other medical disorders. When the gums become inflamed and gingivitis occurs, inflammatory mediators, called cytokines, which are in the gum tissue, it may take a saliva and be sucked into the lungs. The bacteria responsible for periodontitis may also enter the circulatory system through the areas surrounding the teeth and thus travel to other parts of the body. Bacteria from the mouth can cause secondary infections or inflammation in other tissues or organ systems of the body.
Who do you turn in case of bad breath?
If you think your diet is responsible for bad breath, consult a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you change it. If poor oral hygiene leads and suffers gingivitis (gum inflammation) or have periodontitis (bone loss around the teeth, sometimes called “gum disease”), check with your dentist and dental hygienist to improve gingivitis and achieve good oral hygiene at home. For tonsils and respiratory infections will check with your doctor or specialist, such as an otolaryngologist or pulmonologist. The vast majority of Americans have the syndrome of dry mouth due to medication taking, salivary gland problems or radiation or chemotherapy treatments for cancer. If you wish to prescribe or recommend products to relieve dry mouth syndrome, consult a maxillofacial surgeon, your physician or an oncologist. Patients with diabetes or liver, kidney or gastrointestinal disorders, they should see their doctor, urologist or gastroenterologist and to learn how they can reduce the odor caused by these systemic diseases. Go to consulting your dentist for advice on what health care professional you should see to treat your problem of bad breath.