Fresh Breath Centre
Q: What is halitosis?
A: More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue.
Q: What causes bad breath?
A: Although there may be a number of causes, most of the time, halitosis originates in the mouth. It is caused by oral bacteria breaking down food debris. This process creates byproducts called volatile sulfur compounds, which emit a smell similar to rotten eggs. The type of bacteria that initiates this process needs an environment that is free of oxygen, so they usually inhabit areas that are difficult to reach, such as the pockets around teeth and the fissures of the tongue. In some circumstances, the odor may be caused by a systemic condition such as diabetes or a problem in the sinuses, pharynx, lungs, or stomach. Other debris in your mouth and poor oral hygiene can also cause odor. Therefore, the first step in solving bad breath problems is to undergo a medical examination to ensure that there are not any systemic problems contributing to the condition. Other factors can also cause halitosis: tobacco, alcohol, mouth rinses containing alcohol, garlic, onions, spicy food, hunger and dry mouth. These are all secondary to the main culprit – oral bacteria. If you have concerns about bad breath, please discuss this with us.
Q: Can bad breath also come from other causes?
A: Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath.
Q: What can be done to combat bad breath?
A: If it is clear that bacteria are the culprits, methods to reduce them are the first line of defense. That’s why if you have bad breath, you should make sure to obtain a complete dental examination that includes a periodontal examination. Keeping your mouth as clean as possible helps eliminate bacteria. This ‘disinfection’ includes thorough brushing, proper use of dental floss, recommended mouth rinses and cleaning the tongue. Our hygienists are skilled at removing all the bacteria and most importantly showing you the skills needed to maintain things at home.
Q: Do certain food cause bad breath?
A: Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after