Bad breath or halitosis is one of the most common problems, but very few people tend to take it seriously. Many people with halitosis are not aware of their problem, while people who do not have bad breath sometimes believe they do. Halitosis is not well understood and is multifactorial in origin
What are the types and causes for bad breath?
The causes of halitosis are classified as genuine halitosis, pseudo-halitosis, and halitophobia.
• Genuine halitosis: In this type of halitosis, bad mouth odor persists and is faced by both, the patient as well as anyone in the vicinity.
• Pseudo-halitosis: Here the patient feels he has bad mouth odor but is not experienced by anyone else.
• Halitophobia: This type includes cases of genuine and pseudo-halitosis, where the problem is cured, but the patient still believes he suffers from bad mouth odor.
The genuine category is further classified as physiological and pathological halitosis. Physiological halitosis is seen after waking up in the morning and occurs due to bacterial activity and hyposalivation during the night.
Pathological halitosis is classified based on the origin of the mouth odor—Oral and non-oral origin. Reasons for pathological halitosis of oral origin include oral infections, disorders of the gum, and dry mouth. Pathological halitosis of non-oral origin includes health conditions like chronic sinusitis, post nasal drip, pneumonia, bronchiectasis, acid reflux, pharyngitis, liver diseases, and kidney diseases.
As halitosis is so common, how to prevent bad breath is a question that is asked by many. Prevention and cure of bad breath involves lifestyle changes and home remedies. Lifestyle changes include brushing and flossing regularly, tongue cleaning, and consuming enough water to keep your mouth hydrated. Home remedies include things that can be done at home to prevent or mask bad mouth odor like consuming tea, herbs, milk, yogurt, apples, spices, sugar-free chewing gum, and pineapple.
If bad breath still persists, professional treatment is recommended.
Bad breath solution/treatment
Treatment need (TN) for bad mouth odor is classifiedinto five categories:
• TN-1 category: It includes an explanation of halitosis and instructions to improve oral hygiene. As the tongue is the main source of accumulation of bacteria, cleaning the tongue with a scraper is a very importantmeasure involved in TN-1. Other measures include oral hygiene procedures and mouth rinsing. A dentist might recommend an antimicrobial mouth rinse for treating malodor.
• TN-2 category: Oral prophylaxis and professional treatment, especially for disorders of the gums. Dental treatment may also be required to correct faulty restoration, causing poor oral health.
• TN-3 category: Referral to a physician. When the cause of pathological halitosis is non-oral in origin, referral to a respective specialist is recommended.
• TN-4 category: Professional instruction, education, and reassurance. Individuals with pseudo halitosis assume that people avoid them because of their oral malodor. The patient needs to be counseled that the intensity of their malodor is not beyond a socially acceptable level. Patient of pseudo-halitosis generally respond favorably to counseling.
• TN-5 category: Referral to a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. It is advisable in cases of halitophobia where a person does not respond well to counseling. They cannot accept that their perception of bad breath is a mistaken belief and need assistance from a psychological specialist.
In conclusion, the treatment of physiologic halitosis involves TN-1,whereas TN-1 and TN-2 are used while treating oral pathologic causes. TN-1 and TN-4 are generally used for treating pseudo-halitosis. TN-3 is opted for non-oral pathologic halitosis. TN-5, as a last resort, is used for halitophobia.