Bad breath is still a taboo subject, and one that affects people in both their private and professional lives. Most people mistakenly believe that the causes of bad breath (syn. "halitosis", "foetor ex ore") lie in the digestive tract or are linked to systemic diseases. Often, bad breath is also associated with inadequate personal (oral) hygiene. Those affected thus feel stigmatized. In most cases, however, the causes of halitosis are to be found in the mouth.
What causes bad breath?
Put simply, bad breath is caused by bacteria.
The oral cavity contains numerous bacteria that feed on food residues and dead cells. When these bacteria break down certain food residues, they produce sulfur compounds that can cause an unpleasant odor.
Inadequate oral hygiene, such as irregular tooth brushing, lack of flossing and tongue cleaning, can encourage the multiplication of microbes in the oral cavity, leading to bad breath. Also, dental diseases such as cavities and gum inflammation can encourage the accumulation of bacteria and lead to bad breath.
A dry mouth (xerostomia) can also contribute to bad breath, as saliva normally has a role in neutralizing bacteria. Certain medications, medical conditions and snoring can lead to dry mouth.
Diet: Consumption of certain foods, such as garlic, onions, alcohol and spicy foods, can cause temporary bad breath. Cigarettes and tobacco products can not only cause bad breath, but also increase the risk of gum disease and other oral problems.
Sometimes, halitosis can also be a symptom of underlying health problems, such as respiratory tract infections, digestive problems, diabetes and liver conditions. Sinus infections or drainage problems can also cause bad breath, as odor can escape through the nose.
The good news: bad breath is a treatable disease!
How is bad breath treated?
If you feel you may be bothering other people with unpleasant breath, it's advisable to first rule out any oral and/or dental causes. This will, in the vast majority of cases, reveal the origins of the problem.
We often find loose fillings or crowns in which bacteria can hide, and sometimes untreated dental cavities.
In many cases however, gum disease is to blame. When tartar and plaque build up on the teeth and are not properly removed, the gums open up and form so-called pockets. These pockets are the perfect place for bacteria to multiply undisturbed. Even with very good oral hygiene, it's no longer possible to remove these deposits, as the toothbrush can't reach them. Professional help is then needed to solve the problem. This disease is called periodontosis or periodontitis.
In our practice, we offer in-depth consultation on halitosis. Thanks to a detailed diagnosis, explanations and appropriate therapeutic measures, bad breath can be eliminated quickly, effectively and at reasonable cost.
Don’t let bad breath hold you back—take the first step towards a more confident, fresher you. Make an appointment for a comprehensive examination of this troublesome condition.