Alitosis is a technical term for bad breath and originates from the Latin “halitus” meaning “breath” and the Greek “osis” meaning “abnormal”or “diseased”.Halitosis can be defined as any disagreeable odor in expired air, regardless of whether the odorous substances originate from oral or non-oral sources. Studies estimate that that 30-50% of the population have oral malodour.
The most common cause of halitosi is poor oral hygiene. However a broader classification is as follows:
One’s own breath odor it is often undetectable due to habituation of the individuals. Most individuals are poor judges of their own breath odour
Sniffing of expelled air of the patient by using the nose of the examiner, and grading the level of halitosis. Organoleptic assessment by a judge is still the “ gold standard" in the examination of breath malodor.
Because of the extensive accumulation of bacteria on the dorsum of the tongue, tongue cleaning has been emphasized. Interdental cleaning and toothbrushing are also necessary to control plaque. A one stage full-mouth disinfection, combining scaling and root planing with the application of chlorhexidine. Chewing gum may control bad breath temporarilybecause it can stimulate salivary flow.
Mouth rinsing is a common practice in the patients with oral malodour. The most commonly used rinsing components are chlorehexidine, Listerine, Triclosan, etc.
If you have bad breath with painful swollen bleeding gums or loose teeth consult your dentist immediately. If you have bad breath with sore throat, fever, mucus producing cough, postnasal drip and colorless nasal discharge go to a doctor immediately.
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