halitosis is often thought of as a purely hygienic problem. While it can put people off their lunch, bad breath can also put dental experts on their guard about certain illnesses and conditions. A recent review of healthcare literature indicates that bad breath has a number of causes, not all of them food-related.
An article published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene notes that 90 percent of halitosis comes straight from the mouth, rather than the lungs or stomach. In that respect, many dental hygienists consider oral odor a sign of gum disease or tooth decay.
Bad breath can and often does come from smelly foods, of course. Meals that contain onions, garlic, curry, oils, fatty meats or other savory ingredients easily account for halitosis - at first. After a time, the smell that comes from a person's mouth may be less from food particles than from oral disease.
Gingivitis, tooth decay, thrush, periodontal disease and dental tartar can all give off odors. Generally, more severe instances smell stronger. The new study notes that halitosis can be a sign of any of these dental problems. It advises dentists to be aware of halitosis as a marker of poor oral health.
To clean the teeth and neutralize odors in one fell swoop, individuals with bad breath may try using a specialty breath freshening tablet or rinse.