ALITOSIS IS DESCRIBED AS AN OFFENSIVE OR UNPLEASANT ODOUR FROM EXPIRED AIR
TWO SOURCES HALITOSIS – ORAL AND NON-ORAL
Oral – Nearly 90% of halitosis cases originate in the mouth and are called intra-oral halitosis (IOH). This involves bacterial degradation of sulphur containing compounds resulting in the production of volatile sulphur gases (VSCs) which produces smells ranging from rotten eggs and rotting cabbage to overly sweet and unpleasant smells.
Non Oral -Between 10-20% of halitosis cases are of non-oral origin and are called extra-oral halitosis (EOH) due to systemic problems such as infection from the upper and lower respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, and certain diseases in the kidney and the liver.
Caused by certain food substances, such as onion and garlic. “Morning breath” is a form of temporary halitosis that disappears after activities such as breakfast and tooth-brushing. Smoking causes temporary halitosis and even your morning coffee can lead to a transient halitosis!
- tongue coating (a white or yellow deposit on the tongue’s surface)
- periodontal (gum) disease, or
- a combination of the two
Less prevalent causes include
- xerostomia. (dry mouth)
DIAGNOSIS OF IOH
The first step in diagnosing IOH is to visit your dentist who will inspect your mouth, examine the hard and soft tissues, including the tongue, and carry out a thorough periodontal inspection.
It is important to distinguish halitosis from oral sources with that from non-oral sources so that appropriate management can be instituted.
TREATMENT FOR IOH
Mechanical cleaning of the tongue coating either using a tongue scraper or a toothbrush and chemical reduction of the bacterial load.
Recommended Regime for tongue scraping -five gentle strokes from back to front until the coating is removed completely.
Recommended Protocol for mouth rinses in cases of IOH is gargling (not rinsing) twice/day for1 minute with the tongue out, so that the active ingredients can reach the back.
Intra-oral halitosis combined with periodontitis can be treated with scaling and root planing, along with the use of a mouth rinse.
Brushing 2/day with a fluoride tooth paste and rigorously cleaning in between your teeth with brushes or floss to prevent food and plaque stagnation is also part of the regime required to eliminate halitosis.
Can Halitosis Be Cured?
Halitosis can be a recurring problem and there is no way to “cure” it for good. It must be kept under control through proper oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle choices.