Halitosis (Bad Breath)Tweet
Halitosis (also known as bad breath) most often is caused by volatile sulfur compound producing bacteria in the oral cavity (85%). Such bacteria exist on the gums, teeth, tonsils, adenoids, and tongue. Other (less common) causes of bad breath also include reflux, sinus infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney failure, metabolic dysfunction, cancer, etc. The most recalcitrant cause of halitosis (in people with excellent oral hygiene) is due to bacterial overgrowth in the back part of the tongue (lingual tonsils). Adenoids is another location often neglected as a cause of halitosis.
To treat benign halitosis, there are some things one can do at home to resolve the issue before seeing a physician and/or dentist.
- Brush your teeth daily! Poor dental hygiene leads to caries as well as gingivitis which both lead to halitosis.
- Floss your teeth daily! To understand the benefit in flossing, smell the floss after flossing your teeth.
- Brush your tongue daily, not just in the front, but in the back! Use a tongue brush or scraper. Toothbrush works, but not as well.
- Not only rinse, but GARGLE your mouth twice a day. When gargling, try to focus the gargle on the back part of the tongue where it curves down into your throat (stick your tongue out while gargling). Rinsing and gargling before bedtime works best as the residue from the mouthwash remains in the mouth for a longer period of time.
- Saline flushes (not sprays) to the nose twice a day (ie, Neilmed sold over the counter in many pharmacies is what we generally recommend) address nasal/sinus/adenoid sources of halitosis.
- Maintain proper hydration as dry mouth can exacerbate bacterial overgrowth.
- Researchers found that eating 6 ounces of yogurt a day containing live Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus reduced levels of odor-causing compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, in the mouth.
These are some suggested ingredients in toothpaste (based on reference below):
- Tin fluoride, sodium fluoride
- 20-65% bicarbonate and Zinc salts
- Hydrogen peroxide
These are some suggested ingredients for mouth rinses (based on reference below):
What can our physicians provide beyond these measures?
- Endoscopic evaluation of the adenoids and lingual tonsils.
- Surgical procedures to remove the tonsils (lingual or palatine) and/or adenoids if they are contributing to the halitosis.
- If you have problems with tonsil stones, tonsil cryptolysis may be an option.
- Evaluate for more sinister causes of halitosis (ie, cancer, infection, tumors, etc).
If halitosis is affecting your quality of life, please contact our office for an appointment.
Related Blog Articles
- Tonsil Bad Breath and Tonsil Stones
- Should Toothbrushes be Thrown Out After Strep Throat?
- What is the BEST Way to Disinfect a Toothbrush?
- Bad Breath Found to be Related to Types of Bacteria Rather Than Bacterial Amount
- Why Do People Have Morning Breath?
Related Articles Readers Have Viewed
- The relationship between oral malodor and volatile sulfur compound-producing bacteria. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Nov;135(5):671-6. Link
- Coblation lingual tonsillectomy. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Nov;135(3):487-8. Link
- Lingual tonsillectomy using bipolar radiofrequency plasma excision. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Nov;134(2):328-30. Link
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Any information provided on this website should not be considered medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with a physician. If you have a medical problem, contact your local physician for diagnosis and treatment. Advertisements present are clearly labelled and in no way support the website or influence the contents.
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