Halitosis is a chronic condition that often causes embarrassment and anxiety. Individuals with halitosis experience an unpleasant mouth odor that does not resolve with typical oral hygiene methods such as brushing, flossing, and the use of mouthwash. Experts believe up to eighty percent of halitosis cases are caused by oral health concerns, and eleven different types of the condition have been identified. Halitosis can occur in both children and adults, and an estimated fifty million Americans are affected by the condition. Dry mouth, dieting, and certain medical conditions may sometimes cause halitosis as well. Some dentists specialize in halitosis treatment, and general dentists, periodontists, and medical professionals can all provide treatment advice and resources. The following interventions may help in resolving halitosis.
Evaluation For An Underlying Condition
Acid reflux, diabetes, sinus infections, kidney issues, and dry mouth are some of the medical conditions that may lead to halitosis. The specific smell of the breath can often provide clues as to the particular underlying condition an individual may be experiencing. Patients who struggle with acid reflux or frequent indigestion (heartburn) may notice a bad taste in their mouths. Individuals with sinus infections may have mucus buildup that causes a similar unpleasant taste. If the breath has a fruity odor or smells like acetone, this can be indicative of diabetes. Patients who have kidney issues may sometimes notice their breath smells a bit like ammonia.
Bowel issues, poor digestion, and an imbalance of bacteria in the stomach may inhibit the proper breakdown of foods by the body. This may cause the breath to take on the odor of whatever food the patient has most recently consumed. Dry mouth is a medical condition that may lead to bad breath as it causes reduced saliva in the mouth. It is a common side effect of antidepressants, antihistamines, and medication used to treat high blood pressure. Patients who notice they have a breath odor that is not normal for them, particularly if it is fruity or smells of ammonia, should consider visiting a doctor to have an evaluation for underlying conditions.
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