Bad breath is an embarrassing condition that is referred to as halitosis. Halitosis comes from the Latin "halitus" for "breath" and the Greek "osis", referring to a medical condition. So, the definition of halitosis is bad or foul-smelling breath. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they have halitosis and they may not realize it until a loved one points it out.
The causes of halitosis vary from simply eating strong-smelling foods, such as foods with garlic or onion, to an underlying dental or medical condition.
Most causes of halitosis are in the mouth, rather than an indication of a gastrological problem. Foods such as onions, garlic, fish, meat and cheese can cause bad breath. So can smoking. Poor brushing and flossing habits and not cleaning dentures properly can cause odor. Brushing and using mouthwash usually cures the problem.
However, the tongue is a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause mouth odor. Swishing with mouth-wash won't debride the layer of old skin cells on the tongue that house this bacteria. The method for how to get rid of this bacteria is to use products such as toothbrushes and tongue to scrape off that layer of cells on the tongue.
If you are seeking a cure for chronic halitosis, it's always best to get an appointment with your doctor or dentist and ask for their professional diagnosis and recommended treatment. Some of the possible causes of halitosis include having xerostomia or dry mouth, periodontal disease, a sinus infection, a hiatal hernia and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Other systemic diseases that can have symptoms including halitosis are liver failure, infections in the lower respiratory tract, renal infection or renal failure, carcinoma, diabetes, or a metabolic dysfunction.
Most remedies for halitosis start with proper oral care, which is important to begin in children. At regular dental cleanings, your hygienist can scrape off the plaque build-up that leads to odor. At home, teach kids to brush and floss their teeth and use a tongue scraper daily. Your dentist may also recommend specific mouthwashes or rinses to use at home.
Other products you might use at home include zinc, chlorhexidine and essential oils. Check the labels carefully for how to use these products, as they are not meant to be swallowed and some essential oils are not approved for oral use.
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