Halitosis is the scientific name for bad breath, a condition often caused by bacteria on the tongue or teeth that produce an unpleasant odour, including the smell of sulphur. Bad breath does not pose a major health problem, but it can cause awkward situations with other people and be a source of stress.
There are several things that cause halitosis, all related to the mouth:
- Deficient dental hygiene: Poor hygiene leaves food particles between the teeth, under the gums and on the tongue, which will feed harmful bacteria. Daily brushing (including the tongue) and regular cleanings are recommended more than ever.
- “Bad breath” foods: Garlic, onion and some spices that contain oils with a particular smell are the main culprits. By digesting them, they pass into the bloodstream, reach the lungs and emit a bad odour each time you breathe and until the body eliminates them naturally.
- An oral infection: Bad breath can also be caused by cavities or gum disease (gingivitis, periodontitis, etc.).
- Dry mouth or xerostomia: A saliva deficiency causes xerostomia, a condition that affects about 25% of the population. Saliva contains antibacterial substances that remove the particles causing bad breath. At night, our saliva production goes down, hence the bad morning bad breath.
- Alcohol and tobacco: These products should be avoided as much as possible as they dry the mouth and cause a saliva deficiency that can directly result in xerostomia.
Bad breath can also be an indicator of a more serious health problem, such as respiratory illness, diabetes, gastric reflux, etc. To gain your peace of mind, it’s a good idea to consult a dentist. Your dentist will be able to sniff things out.