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What is Bad breath or Halitosis?

Bad breath
is also known as Fetor Oris, while Halitosis is the medical term for bad
breath. Halitosis or bad breath means that the patient’s breath has a bad smell
or an uncomfortable odor.  It is very
common in humans all over the globe. It occurs due to excess collection of
bacteria in the mouth, due to any cause. Bacteria can accumulate in the mouth
due to a gum disease, due to some food that the person has eaten or due to
plaque formation in the mouth.

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Symptoms of Bad breath or Halitosis

There are
several symptoms associated with Bad breath or halitosis. Each symptom is
associated with a different cause of halitosis. 
One of these symptoms is the formation of a layer on the tongue. This
layer can be yellow or white in colour. The patient can have white or pale
gums. Usually the gums are pinker in colour. The patient’s mouth can also be
dry. The mucosa or the walls of the mouth also appear dry. Sometimes, patients
complain of a specific taste in the mouth without eating any food. They can
have feelings of bitter, sour or metallic tastes. One can feel like some liquid
is falling from the nose into the throat. This is known as postnasal drainage.

White raised spots can also form on the tonsils of the patient. Tonsils are
part of the immune system of the body. They protect the person from any foreign
infectious agent. In halitosis, even if the patient tries brushing their teeth
or flossing to remove the smell, it is infective.  Due to the bad smell coming from one’s mouth
the patient loses their self-confidence and self-esteem, hence they often avoid
talking to anyone. 

Causes of Bad breath or Halitosis

Bad dental
hygiene is one of the major causes of halitosis or bad breath. As the food
starts accumulating in the teeth and the mucosal pockets in the mouth or the
gum, bad odor and other issues start developing. Eating foods like garlic,
alcohol or use of tobacco are also among the main causes. In a few cases, it
can be due to diseases like esophagitis. Esophagitis is when the food reflux
from the stomach effects and inflames the oesophagus. In problems like chronic
sinusitis, postnasal drip which contains pus also causes halitosis.  Any cancer or tumour present in the mouth or
the area behind the mouth (known as the pharynx) also gives of a very bad smell
causing halitosis. If due to any problem, less water is taken, the patient has
a dry mouth. This also causes bad breath. 
Illnesses like a few metabolic disorders also cause halitosis.

Risk factors of Bad breath or Halitosis

There are
few factors or habits that make the person prone to or put them at a higher
risk of developing bad breath or halitosis. People who have different gum
diseases are at a higher risk. Smoking also acts as a potent risk factor.

People with dry mouth are also at risk. 
Diseases and disorders, for example diabetes or HIV/AIDS, make the patient
more prone to developing bad breath. In HIV/AIDS, the immune system is weakened,
hence the bacteria proliferate easily in the mouth.

Complications of Bad breath or Halitosis

Along with
the discomfort, bad breath or halitosis can have a detrimental effect on the psychology
of the patient. The self- esteem and the confidence of the person is decreased.

This can cause social and personal complications.

Lab investigation and Diagnosis of Bad breath or
Halitosis

As there
are several and different causes of halitosis and bad breath, the diagnosis
needs to be exact to treat it properly. Halitosis is managed by the dentist.

They usually check for the presence of any gum or teeth disease that could be
causing halitosis.  The dentist will check
the teeth, gums, mouth and salivary glands that are present in the mouth, in
detail. Salivary glands are numerously present in the mouth and they are
responsible of producing and releasing the saliva to keep the mouth moist.

Treatment of Bad breath or Halitosis

There are
multiple approaches to treating atypical halitosis and bad breath. These
include homeopathic treatment of halitosis and bad breath acupuncture and
acupressure, treatment through conventional or allopathic means, dietary and herbal
treatments, and others.

Homeopathic treatment of Bad breath or Halitosis

Homeopathy
uses compounds found in the nature, without altering them. Homeopathy provides
a safe and a natural way to treat the bad breath or halitosis. There are
different homeopathic remedies available to treat halitosis or bad breath. The
remedies include Calendula, Kali Phosphoricum, Mercurius and Nux Vomica. 

Acupuncture and acupressure treatment of Bad
breath or Halitosis

Acupuncture
can help in reducing the halitosis produced by the problems in the digestive
system.  The acupuncture treatment helps
in relieving the symptoms produce by the digestive system. Acupuncture helps
the body remain in balance. It harmonizes the yin and yang of the body.

Acupuncture is a painless treatment.

Conventional or Allopathic treatment of Bad
breath or Halitosis

The
allopathic treatment is decided by the general physician. It cures the bad
breath or halitosis by using mouth washes and medication.  These mouth washes act as anti-septic.  The treatment also has other options, like
tooth pastes. Other fresh breath products can also be used.

Dietary and herbal treatment of Bad breath and
Halitosis

Certain
foods help in reducing the problem of bad breath and a few aggravate the
problem.  Chewing good-smelling gums
after every meal also improves the state of the breath smells.  One should avoid yogurt and foods containing sugar-containing
yogurt. Bacteria in the mouth use sugars as food. Hence when foods contain
unsaturated sugars, they help the bacteria proliferate in the mouth.  The person should also eat foods that have a
low-fat content or better if they are fat-free. A nutritionist can help the
patient decide what sorts of food they can eat.

Herbal
remedies containing nettle, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, peppermint, dill, fennel,
sage, licorice, Echinacea, wild yam, myrrh and lemon can also prove beneficial.

Precaution and prevention of Bad breath or
Halitosis

There are
several precautions and prevention techniques that can be applied to prevent
halitosis.  Patients should have good
oral hygiene. You should brush their teeth after every time you eat something.  If you are using dentures, clean them
thoroughly. Make sure you drink water regularly and keep within your daily
water requirement. One should change their toothbrush every three to four
months as an old brush cannot clean properly. 
Along with brushing your teeth, one should clean the tongue by brushing
it too. 

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