Foul breath, also known as halitosis, is a common concern of many patients. It affects approximately 50% of the adult population world wide. 90% of cases of halitosis can be traced to local sources in the oral cavity.
It can be caused by 1.Poor oral hygiene 2.Deep cavities in the teeth 3.Periodontal disease 4.Oral infections 5.Certain foods 6.Impacted food 7.Tongue coating 8.Poor salivary flow 9.Smoking 10.Alcohol
Interaction between oral bacterial species and the above co-factors produce the chemical agents of malodor which are volatile sulfide compounds. These are hydrogen sulfides, methyl mercaptans and dimethylsulfides. These smell like either rotten eggs or rotten cabbage.
Treatment is to determine the cause first. It could be from the mouth, diet, sinuses, stomach, liver cirrhosis and diabetes to name a few.
If the odor originates from the mouth then your dentist will check all your teeth, do a thorough cleaning, evaluate your gums, show you how to clean your tongue and evaluate your diet. Mouthrinses with anti microbial properties can also be an effective tool in reducing the quantity of microorganisms causing halitosis. An emergent treatment is the use of probiotics that are targeted against the causal bacteria.
Using candied mints or gum only masks the problem and can also make it worse because the sugar in the mints are fuel for the bacteria that cause the malodor.
In this day and age halitosis is usually easily treated.