Archive for February 2013

Bad breath (halitosis), well known for its negative social connotations, is a condition that may also be a sign of poor health.    Ninety percent (90%) of halitosis originates in the mouth, caused primarily by the sulfur containing by-products left from the digestion of protein by the bacteria found in plaque.  These are some of the same bacteria associated with gingivitis and periodontitis,  with most of the halitosis causing bacteria mainly found on the tongue.  The remaining causes of bad breath originate from sources outside of the mouth, including the upper and lower respiratory tract, the stomach, and intestines.

The halitosis that originates in the mouth is primarily due to inadequate plaque control, periodontal disease, dry mouth, faulty restorations, and in particular due to excessive bacterial growth on the back surface of the tongue.

The management of halitosis may involve a combination of specific treatments to maintain plaque control, including the elimination of active periodontal disease, the correction of older dental restoration that are acting as food traps, and the routine cleaning of the surface of the tongue.  Oral rinsing with a mouthwash may be indicated in some instances, but without proper oral hygiene to control plaque buildup (brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning), this would only be a temporary measure.

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