While many people think that bad breath is no big deal, they might be wrong. Not only can oral odor affect an individual's personal life, it can also be a sign of a more serious condition. For example, the Mayo Clinic states that in about 10 percent of cases, halitosis can be a sign of diabetes, kidney or liver failure and even some cancers. Recently, the Connection, a Virginia news source, spoke to halitosis specialist Richard Miller, D.D.S., who said that he's even seen bad breath ruin lives.
Lost jobs and broken hearts
According to the dentist, he's heard of cases of oral odor that have caused people to lose their jobs, and even of engagements and marriages ending due to a partner's halitosis.
The information provider also spoke to Raymond Martin, D.D.S., spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, who said that along with food and tobacco, there are lifestyle changes that can cause halitosis. For example, stress, dieting, hormonal changes and even snoring may lead to bad breath. When people snore, their mouths stay open at night, which causes dry mouth and the oral odor that comes along with it.
There are effective treatments
Martin recommended that people use a tongue scraper, increase their water intake and chew sugar-free gum if they want to improve their halitosis. While these are good suggestions, they may not be as effective as alcohol-free mouthwash, which can freshen breath without drying out the mouth.
When patients have particularly rank oral odor, Miller uses a tool called a halimeter to shed more light on their problem.
"We have a halimeter that monitors the amount of sulfite in the breath that causes odor. This gives an idea of the severity of the problem," said Miller, quoted by the news source. "We check for bleeding under the gums and look for everything that can possibly contribute like stones in the back of the throat or anything going down the sinuses."
He added that after this process, he creates a treatment plan for patients, but his services aren't cheap. The initial visit is $350, and costs increase depending on how severe a person's halitosis is. This is why people should look into oral care probiotics, alcohol-free mouthwashes and other, more affordable solutions before they resort to drastic and expensive measures.