Several factors can be the culprit to your having halitosis or bad breath. These include smoking, food smell, etc., but now there is significant research that shows that intraoral factors contribute to the problem significantly and these factors include, gingivitis, increased bacteria and even tongue bio-films. You see, there are many small areas in the mouth that make perfect homes for bacteria and are suitable for the growth of microorganisms. These oral anaerobes can produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) including hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide and minor components including amines and acids, and all of these are associated with bad breath. And out of all of these, it is Hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan are the primary culprits in halitosis. Because of this we want to review the association between intraoral factors and halitosis.
The History of Halitosis
Halitosis, also named bad breath, is an abnormal symptom characterized by a foul or offensive odor emanating from the oral cavity. It is an indicator of poor health status and a lack of oral cleanliness, and can cause social and psychological handicaps for people who suffer from bad breath. This is a problem that stems back thousands of years, back to Greek and Roman times, when it was documented and remedies can even be traced as far back as to Hippocrates. Today, with newer technologies and an improvement in our quality of life and our awareness of the importance of oral health, that we as a society begin to pay attention to halitosis. In fact, for dentists this has been a significant complaint among patients, and investigative research by pharmaceuticals, and dental research companies have spent millions of dollars looking for the perfect cure. Yet, still, these studies show that halitosis is a worldwide occurrence with a prevalence range of 22% to 50% and where about 5% oft these cases are considered severe.
Where Does Halitosis Come From?
The beginnings of halitosis is generated by oral floras, the metabolism, food remnants stuck in the teeth, and from the copious amounts of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), methyl mercaptan (CH3SH), dimethyl sulfide and minor components like amines and acids produced by oral microorganisms.
The Formation of Halitosis
Believe it or not, but there has been a great deal of research into the formation of bad breath and most studies have found that it is the VSC producing microorganisms that play an important role in the development of halitosis.
Intraoral related factors to halitosis
The mouth harbors hundreds of bacterial species with various nutritional preferences and provides various microbiological pockets in which these species can survive. Some investigations have now found that developing bad breath works similarly to the way gingivitis and periodontitis progress.
Intraoral niches for VSCs-producing flora
Researchers suggest that the tongue plays an important role in the production of halitosis. The surface morphologic characteristics of the tongue dorsum provide additional irregularities such as fissures, grooves and depapillated areas that may serve as retention areas for harboring bacteria, and the upper structure of your mouth gives a particularly interesting niche for oral debris and bacteria to grow in. Researchers have also found that there is a visible white-brownish layer that can adhere to the upper side of the tongue, which is named tongue coating or tongue biofilm, and is considered as a nutrient for bacteria.
Most research also suggests that there is a positive correlation between halitosis and total bacterial numbers. However, there is no similar correlation with respect to the saliva samples. Some researchers stated that the tongue dorsum and tongue coating played a more important role in the formation of halitosis than periodontal diseases
Saliva also plays an important role in the formation of halitosis. Some people contain large amounts of desquamated oral epithelial cells, leukocytes, bacteria, food residues and even some proteins and enzymes. This is a feasible culture for oral bacteria. Besides these oral factors, the pH, Eh and the quantity of saliva a person produces are also effective factors in the formation of bad breath.
Dental plaque especially materia alba, gingival pocket, periodontal pocket, and gingival crevicular fluid increase the chances of your developing halitosis.
Periodontal Diseases and Halitosis
Recent studies show that patient who have periodontal disease were also 8 times more likely to have halitosis than those who did not. This has led dental experts to believe that gingival diseases and periodontitis lead to halitosis
What Do You Do to Fight Off Halitosis?
The best thing you can do to fight off halitosis or bad breath is to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, and you can do that by taking care of your teeth and gums. Keep your scheduled dental appointments.
You really want to see your dentist every six months or at least yearly.
Good oral hygiene also an important factor in fighting off halitosis or bad breath. Ideally, you should brush and floss after every meal to help reduce the odor-causing bacteria and plaque. Consider using a mouthwash as this can also prevent halitosis and reduce the amount of intraoral bacteria your mouth has.
Watch What You Eat
What you eat will affect the way your mouth smells, because as your body digests food it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and then you expel it through your lungs and ultimately your breath. When you eat a healthy diet and have regular meals you can eliminate or minimize the bad breath.
Eat more fruits and vegetables than processed foods and avoid bad breath causing food like garlic, onions, and some other spicy foods.