Bad breath is medically referred to as halitosis. It can result from poor oral health or it could indicate other problems. This odor can strike periodically or it can be persistent depending on what has caused it. The primary causes of bad breath are the bacteria that stay at the back of the mouth. These bacteria reside in the mouth because the environment there is warm, and ideal for bacteria to grow.
In the morning it is fairly normal to have bad breath because at night, the saliva that washes away food that has decayed in the mouth diminishes. This makes the mouth become dry making the dead cells stay on the tongue and inside the cheeks. This is what cases bad breath.
Another reason for bad breath is lack of proper hygiene. If teeth are not brushed or flossed daily, the particles that remain in the mouth encourage the growth of bacteria around the mouth and the tongue area. It could also be caused by external agents in form of the food we eat. For example coffee, onions, garlic, chewing of tobacco and cigarette smoking. Bad breath could also be caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections and postnasal drip. Various medications, salivary gland problem or continuous breathing through the mouth can lead to foul odor in the mouth.
Volatile sulphar compounds present in the mouth that are produced by the decaying process of food particles in the mouth is the actual cause of chronic halitosis. These compounds are continually produced as part of the bacteria’s normal cycle. Improper cleaning leaves behind food debris that constitutes to the VSC levels in the mouth. They do not only cause odor but they are also believed to be a major step in the development of gingivitis.
The use of a diagnostic instrument known as a halimeter measures the odor causing gases that are present in the mouth. These gases emanate from bacteria in the mouth that are responsible for breath odors. The dentist may suspect the likely cause of the smell. For instance, a fruity breath may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes while a urine like smell sometimes indicate kidney failure.
The longer the bad breath lasts depends on its cause. If the problem results from poor oral hygiene, proper oral hygiene will freshen the mouth immediately while if it is coming from systemic illnesses it my be controlled by proper medical care.