Halitosis. What causes it and how to fight it

halitosisHalitosis is the scientific name for what is commonly known as bad breath. In other words, when your breath does not have a pleasant smell.

Although halitosis is not a serious condition on its own it can be the symptom of bigger problems such as cavities or infections, and its also the cause for personal insecurities and isolation. People who suffer from halitosis become afraid of socializing, let alone get intimate with another person. Halitosis can prevent you from being yourself, which can affect almost every aspect of your life. Relationships, both personal and professional, have been broken because of a simple case of halitosis, others were never even born…

It is reported that over 80 million people suffer from a chronic halitosis, yet few of these people are taking action towards solving their condition. As cruel as it might sound, bad breath has been strongly stigmatized by society, and people suffering from it are usually afraid of asking for help, even to their doctor. The opposite is also true, people who are close to someone suffering from halitosis are sometimes afraid of bringing up the issue as they fear that will traumatize their loved one, but the truth is they are only making the case worse…Nobody would doubt to alert a colleague if they forgot to zip their pants or got a stain on their shirt before going into a meeting, however bringing up a case of bad breath seems to be some sort of taboo which nobody wants to admit or talk about.

If you are reading this because you know someone who suffers from this condition, you should build up the courage to talk to him or her about it. Be natural, don’t make a big deal out of it, simply get your friend or college in private and tell them what you’ve noticed. Also let them know treatment for halitosis is usually incredibly simple and cheap, most of the times it’s not even necessary to visit the doctor.

On the other hand, if you are reading this because you suffer from a case of halitosis we have great news for you. Halitosis is very easy to treat in most cases and if you start taking action right now you’ll see a huge improvement in just a few days.

What causes it

Halitosis is actually caused by the presence of sulfides in your breath. The more sulfides in your breath the stronger your bad breath is. So how do sulfides get to your breath in the first place?

Sulfides are most of the times generated by bacteria which lives in your mouth. We all have bacteria in our mouth. In fact, this is perfectly healthy, however when the level of bacteria increases for some reason bad breath appears.

Some reasons why your oral bacteria level can go above the usual are cavities, gum disease or other sort of oral infections. Another very common reason is neglecting your tongue in your daily oral care. The top of the tongue is the perfect place for bacteria to accumulate, especially at the back of the mouth. So even if you are brushing your teeth properly, regularly and thoroughly, if you neglect your tongue bacteria will still remain in your mouth and can be the source of a halitosis case.

Halitosis can sometimes also be the symptom of a more serious issue such as a stomach infection or disease.

How to fight it

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80% of the cases of halitosis come from an oral source, and as we’ve already seen in these cases the reason for bad breath is a higher level of oral bacteria than usual. So really all you need to do is look for the source of that excessive bacteria in your mouth and fix it.

First thing you want to do is visually inspect your mouth for cavities or other sort of infections, usually around the area where your gums meet your teeth. If you think you might have a cavity first thing you need to do is make an appointment with your dentist to get it fixed. Cavities are a great place for bacteria to live and reproduce and that is likely what is giving you that unpleasant breath.

If you didn’t find any potential cavities or infections during the visual inspection, then the most likely cause for your halitosis is a lack of oral hygiene. Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, ideally even more after every time you finish eating. Also make sure that you are not only brushing your teeth enough but that you are brushing them properly. Last but most important, get yourself a tongue scraper and start using it every time you brush your teeth. This will help you get rid of the plaque that sticks to your tong. This is the most common cases for halitosis and once you start using the tong scraper the results will be obvious after just a couple of uses. You might also want to get yourself an anti-plaque mouthwash to help you bring the levels of plaque down, especially at the beginning.

This is common even in people who brush regularly and properly and does not mean that the person has a lack of interest for their oral care. Some people simply generate more plaque than others and also have more rugged tongues which make it easier for the plaque to stick to it. If this is your case you must know there is nothing wrong with you, you just need to address this fact the same way some people have to shave more often than others.

If after checking your mouth for cavities and infections and using the tongue scraper regularly for a few days you feel like your bad breath has not improved it might be time for you to visit as doctor as your bad breath might be the symptom of other issues such a stomach infection which needs to be treated. Once that is solved your bad breath will most likely disappear on its own.