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  • Writer's pictureIoannis Tsiaousis

Is bad breath a dental or a social problem?

What is halitosis?

Halitosis is an oral health problem where the main symptom is bad, smelling breath. In most cases, finding the cause of the bad breath is the first step toward treating this preventable condition.

NHS data has estimated that approximately 25% of the UK population suffer from chronic bad breath at any one time, this is more than those suffering from common medical conditions such as diabetes (6%) and asthma (11%) and the same amount as those suffering from gum disease (15-30%). This is a serious condition that needs to be addressed.

What is the main cause of halitosis?

Halitosis is caused by sulphur-producing bacteria in the tongue and throat. The major causes include a dry mouth caused by certain foods, smoking, poor oral hygiene and a coated tongue. The treatment of halitosis will depend on the underlying cause. In recent years, there have been some major advances in the research into bad breath and understanding of the problem has grown enormously. Dentists are increasingly meeting the growing demand from patients with bad breath; by offering specialist diagnostic and treatment services.

Researchers have known for some time that periodontal disease is caused by volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), predominantly hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulphide, which break down the resistant barrier of the periodontium causing oral malodour. As the severity of the periodontal breakdown increases so too does the presence of VSCs. By eliminating VSCs there is the potential to control periodontitis and eliminate bad breath.

Can halitosis be treated?

There are several effective treatments for chronic halitosis, including brushing and flossing regularly, using a tongue scraper, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding foods that promote oral bacteria growth.

How do I get rid of halitosis?

Oral hygiene is the best way to keep your breath smelling clean and fresh. Some general guidelines: B

rush twice a day, for at least two minutes each time, do not rinse, and floss or use the interproximal brushes at least once a day. Remember to clean your tongue ideally with a tongue scraper.

The simple fact is, bad breath is both a social and a dental problem. The anxiety caused as a result of suffering from bad breath could have debilitating consequences and, with 90% of bad breath being caused by what happens in the mouth, dental professionals are well placed and have a responsibility to help patients. If you suffer from bad breath, please ask your dental professional. Our dental team at Burgate Dental Practice & Implant Centre; will be able to assist you. For more information; you can visit our website at: or contact us via phone at: 01227462857.

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