Halitosis (Bad Breath)

Frequently, Tampa Bay area patients ask Dr. Nilash Patel and Dr. Nitash Patel of Serenity Dental about the causes and treatment for halitosis (bad breath).

Oral odors are most commonly created by food you’ve eaten or periodontal (gum) disease. Other causes include smoking, alcohol consumption, sinus infections, chronic gastroesophogeal reflux, anorexia, bulimia, and diabetes.

Foods such as garlic and onion contain large molecules that are responsible for their odor. These large molecules must be excreted fully before the odor is gone. Unfortunately, they are removed from your body by way of your lungs. It can take as long as 24 hours before the odor is totally exhaled. Regardless of how carefully and thoroughly you brush, floss, and use mouthwash, the odor does not go away; it is only masked. It will return until all the molecules are expended through your lungs.

Odors caused by poor oral hygiene and periodontal diseases are the easiest to treat. Frequently, they can be treated simply by changing the way you care for your teeth and mouth. If periodontal disease is the cause, the disease must be treated but when the disease is under control, the odor goes away.

Physicians treat all of the following systemic conditions that can cause bad breath. Dr. Nilash Patel or Dr. Nitash Patel will help you determine what might be contributing to breath odors and can even help you find the appropriate physician to treat the underlying causes.

Sinus infections are characterized by pain, fullness in the sinus area, and a thick mucous-like discharge. A bacterial infection can cause a foul odor. Once the infection is treated, the odor will go away.

Diabetics often have a breath odor that is caused by ketoacidosis, a condition that occurs when their sugar/insulin balance is out of control. This odor has been described as smelling like acetone.

Chronic gastric (stomach) conditions and bulimia can lead to changes in the body chemistry that create a sour breath odor, which can become chronic.

Studies have been done of mouthwashes to determine if they are effective for eliminating mouth odors. Mouthwash containing antibacterial ingredients, such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium, have been shown to get rid of bad breath better than a placebo by decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth that contribute to bad breath. And, mouthwashes with chlorine dioxide and zinc have been shown to help wipe out bad smells by neutralizing them. Unfortunately, mouthwashes only mask odors for a short period of time and will not treat the causes of chronic halitosis.

If you have a persistent odor, you should feel comfortable consulting with our compassionate Serenity Dental of Florida dentists to explore the possible causes. It’s essential to your oral and systemic health to treat any present disease conditions.