Bad breath or halitosis is presumed to be the third most common reason for seeking dental help, following cavities or tooth decay and periodontal or gum disease. In most cases, bad breath originates from inside the mouth itself. However, its intensity differs during the day as a result of eating bad-breath causing foods like onions, garlic, fish, meat, and cheese, along with some other factors like alcohol consumption, obesity, and smoking. At night, when the mouth is inactive and less exposed to oxygen, Bad breath forms, leading to the dreaded ‘morning breath.’ There are cases when bad breath is transient, often going away after eating, flossing, brushing, or rinsing with a special mouthwash. Persistent or chronic Bad breath is a more serious condition, affecting people in varying degrees.There are many different factors that contribute to Bad breath. It is common knowledge that the human mouth is fraught with bacteria, but deposits from the tongue and other parts of the mouth also play a part in producing foul odors from the mouth. An unclean tongue, for instance, is the most common cause of halitosis. Tongue bacteria produce fatty acids and malodorous compounds that ultimately cause bad breath. Naturally occurring bacteria come in large quantities on the tongue’s posterior dorsum—a part usually left undisturbed by normal activity in the mouth. Relatively dry and most poorly cleansed, it makes for an ideal habitat where anaerobic bacteria flourish and thrive. This is made worse by food debris postnasal drip, dead epithelial cells, and overlying bacteria that accumulate in the area. Te poorly cleansed tongue dorsum produces the putrid smell of VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds).
The average human mouth contains more than 600 different types of bacteria, several dozen of which have the ability to produce highly putrid odors when incubated in a lab. Different parts of the mouth also contribute to overall odor, including the sub-gingival niches, abscesses, faulty dental work, unclean dentures, food impaction in between teeth, viral infections, as well as oral-based lesions. Gum disease is also a common reason for severe halitosis, but removal of sub-gingival calculus such as hard plaque or tartar may significantly reduce foul odor and improve Bad breath.
Since halitosis is mostly set off by underlying conditions like gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, and other related diseases, addressing these causes is an important step in achieving fresher breath. In milder cases, simply keeping a proper oral hygiene involving brushing, flossing, tongue cleaning, and gargling mouthwash, combined with regular visits to the dentist are enough to address Bad breath.