Discovering an effective bad breath solution means first discovering the origin of the halitosis. While the majority of chronic bad breath emerges from an abnormally rapid proliferation of sulfur-producing bacteria within the mouth, some bad breath is due to gum disease, rotting teeth or medical conditions unrelated to the mouth. The presence of a systemic disease (non-oral disease), such as severe kidney infections, diabetes, lung infections and even cancer may represent the root cause of bad breath that proves resistant to any bad breath solution.
Common Causes of Halitosis
Naturally occurring bacteria living on the tongue account for many cases of halitosis. These bacteria live on the back of the tongue, which remains undisturbed during every day eating and drinking activities. As a result, an odorous accumulation of postnasal drip, dead epithelial cells and food debris forms an ideal condition for the uncontrolled growth of anaerobic bacteria. If an individual fails to remove this coating through brushing with a toothbrush, this bacterial mat may produce the "rotten egg" pungency generated by VSCs, or volatile sulfur compounds.
When tongue bacteria is the cause of halitosis, implementing a bad breath solution such as sucking on mints, using mouth sprays or chewing gum will not remove the source of the odor but simply mask it temporarily. Using a tongue scraper or toothbrush to dislodge the bacteria and then rinsing the tongue with an effective oral rinse may reduce the intensity of bad breath caused by anaerobic bacteria. Click here to learn more about halitosis.
Bacterial waste multiplying below or at the gumline may produce a bad smell contributing to bad breath. This subgingival tartar is also a precursor to developing gingivitis, a potentially serious gum disease that causes tooth loss, abscesses, bleeding gums and receding gums if not treated. However, while practicing good oral hygiene inhibits the development of gingivitis, it may not be an effective bad breath solution if other culprits contributing to halitosis continue to exist.
Tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones, may be responsible for halitosis in people who still have their tonsils and suffer from periodic bouts of tonsillitis. Sometimes visible as tiny white specks embedded in the tonsils, tonsilloliths are comprised of calcified mouth debris (food, bacteria, sinus drainage) that are highly odoriferous, especially when their contents are released by accidentally biting down on them.
Tonsil stones are usually easy to remove using a toothbrush or water pik but tend to reform if the person does not start drinking plenty of water while avoiding sugary sodas and having their teeth cleaned regularly. If an individual's tonsil stones continue to be a major source of discomfort and embarrassment due to the stones producing chronic halitosis, he or she should consider undergoing a tonsillectomy, the extreme form of a bad breath solution that may help decrease the severity of the halitosis. Click here to learn more about tonsil stones.
Other Possible Reasons for Bad Breath
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Zenker diverticulum
- Smoking/chewing tobacco
- Poorly fitting dentures or bridges
- Oral yeast infections
Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a medical condition that directly produces bad breath because of the bacteria-friendly conditions it creates in the mouth. According to assistant professor Cathy Bartels working for the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences at the University of Montana and writing for the Oral Cancer Foundation, xerostomia is not a disease but a sign that a medical condition exists that restricts saliva flow within the mouth. While a bad breath solution could help in reducing a person's halitosis, the action of stimulating saliva flow is primarily responsible for potentially relieving halitosis.
In addition to performing a number of vital functions such a pH control and re-mineralization, saliva is responsible for much of the antimicrobial actions occurring in the mouth. Without sufficient amounts of saliva hydrating the mouth, an individual may suffer from a constantly irritated throat, difficulty swallowing, periodontal/gum disease and chronic bad breath precipitated by the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria.
The causes of xerostomia are predominantly due to:
- Medications such as antihistamines, antihypertensives, antidepressants and diuretics
- Medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, anemia and rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve damage in the neck and head area
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Smoking, excessive mouth-breathing and chronic nasal congestion
A solution for halitosis produced by dry mouth involves stimulating the flow of saliva by drinking extra water throughout the day, trying to breathe through the nose as much as possible or using an artificial saliva substitute. In addition, visiting the dentist for regular cleanings, brushing and rinsing with fluoride-containing products and treating any medical conditions contributing to dry mouth and bad breath are some of the methods that may reduce halitosis.
- Stimulate the flow of saliva
- Breathe through the nose
- Use an artificial saliva substitute
Attack and conquer the root cause of bad breath by using safe and effective TheraBreath oral hygiene products. A regular over the counter bad breath solution does nothing to stop the growth of sulfurous bacteria responsible for halitosis except put harsh chemicals into your mouth and body. Leaving bad breath to worsen may also increase the chance of developing gum disease and the serious complications involved in neglecting oral hygiene.
TheraBreath offers products that guarantee the elimination of bad breath and destructive oral bacteria. Professional tongue scrapers allow users to gently scrape the entire tongue free of the white coating formed by anaerobic bacteria. Oral rinses such as AktivOxigen treat the back of the throat where bacteria tend to collect and cause severe halitosis. Other powerful, bad breath treatment products created by Dr. Katz include ZOX mints (a saliva stimulant), chewing gum containing effective, breath-freshening ingredients and Power Drops that are applied to the tongue and throat for instant clean-smelling breath.