Bad Breath (Hailitosis)

Ever wondered why you are more likely to have bad breath when you wake up in the morning or any other time during the day! Studies have shown that up to 50% of adults suffer from objectionable mouth odour in early morning before breakfast or tooth brushing. The reason? Your saliva is reduced when you sleep encouraging bacteria to grow in the mouth.

Self-diagnosis of bad breath is difficult as it's not possible to easily detect an odour from one’s own breath. Those who have it are often unaware of it until they have been informed by friends or relatives. People who have been told that they suffer from bad breath may continually worry that an offensive smell can be detected from their breath.

There are a few different reasons why you might have it. Are you brushing your teeth twice a day (and your tongue)? Bad breath can be caused by a build-up of plaque and gum disease (people with periodontal disease exhibit raised odour intensity due to the incubation of saliva and micro-organisms in periodontal pockets).  It can also be due to dry mouth/medications, hailitosis or from health issues. Do you smoke? If you stop smoking you will see a huge improvement in your breath! There are a number of systemic diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure and cirrhosis of the liver can also give rise to particular bad odours in the breath. 

It is always recommended go to your dentist or doctor if the problem persists, and to visit your dentist at least once a year for a check-up and to get your teeth cleaned.

Prevention - some useful tips

Oral hygiene products and plaque control that is aimed at controlling tooth decay and gum disease will also help prevent, control and mask bad breath. Periodontal treatment that results in reduced periodontal pocketing will also minimise bad breath. Reduction in mouth odour can also be helped by the anti-microbial influence of a mouthwash. Some products, however, mask halitosis rather than deal with the cause of the problem. Toothbrushing, chewing gum and tongue cleaning (with a toothbrush or specific tongue-cleaning devices) can be effective in controlling oral halitosis to an acceptable level, though their effect is not as long lasting as the effect of antimicrobial mouthwashes.

If the problem of bad breath persists it is important to attend your dentist or doctor to get to the root of the issue.