Microbiology Notes

Types & How to Manage Halitosis

Written by MicroDok

There are various forms of halitosis (bad breath) that an individual can experience at different points in their life time. While some forms of bad breath may be caused by the type of food the individual consumed or ate; other forms of halitosis may warrant clinical investigation in order to remedy the situation. Morning breath can occur in every individual and it is usually experienced after dawn. It is can be attributed to increased metabolic activities of oral microbes (acting on food leftovers in the mouth) during sleeping period. Our lifestyle can also contribute to the level of bad breath we have at any point in time.

The different forms of bad breath are highlighted in this section.

  • Genuine halitosis: Genuine halitosis is synonymous to morning breath. It is physiologic in nature, and typical of the bad breath we experience after dawn. Genuine halitosis is transitory in nature, and usually fades out when we brush or wash the mouth properly. It is not a clinical condition of bad breath.
  • Halitophobia: Some persons believe that they have halitosis when in the actual sense they are free from bad breath. Halitophobia is the exaggerated fear of bad breath. This type of bad breath is delusional in nature, and may continue to distress the individual until proper care is sought.
  • Pseudohalitosis: Pseudohalitosis is a state in which there is actually no clear evidence of bad breath even though the individual think he or she may have halitosis. It is a false or artificial type of bad breath. People with this condition are known as halitophobics, and they spend a lot of money on mouth fresheners in order to have good breath.
  • Other forms of halitosis: Other forms of bad breath as exemplified above are caused by extra-oral bacteria (i.e. bacteria from other sites of the body excluding the mouth) located in the nose, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) or respiratory tract.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HALITOSIS

Avoiding some type of food and lifestyles can actually reduce your bad breath levels. Some of the measures of preventing bad breath are highlighted in this section.

  • Chewing sugarless gums to increase saliva production and keep the mouth moist. The flushing mechanism of saliva (aside its moisturizing effect which prevents the drought of the mouth) removes oral bacteria and their metabolic products. Some human factors such fasting can also cause the dryness of the mouth; and stress and poor oral hygiene contributes to bad breath.
  • Cleaning the surface of the tongue when brushing or washing the mouth.
  • Eating healthy or balanced diet.
  • Gargling (i.e., rinsing the mouth) before bed time with water and mild antimicrobial mouth washes.
  • Brushing or washing the mouth at least twice everyday; and gargling after chewing snacks.

Since it is not feasible to eradicate oral bacteria because of their protective function in the mouth (oral bacteria prevent the growth of pathogenic yeast such as Candida), it is critical for people to imbibe good oral hygiene practices, and abscond from lifestyles and eating practices that may contribute to their having halitosis.

References

Beck, J. D., Slade, G. and Offenbacher, S. (2000). Oral disease, cardiovascular disease and systemic inflammation. Periodontol, 23, 110-20.

Beers M.H., Porter R.S., Jones T.V., Kaplan J.L and Berkwits M (2006). The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. Eighteenth edition. Merck & Co., Inc, USA.

Champoux J.J, Neidhardt F.C, Drew W.L and Plorde J.J (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases. 4th edition. McGraw Hill Companies Inc, USA.

Jenstch, H., Pornowski, R., Kundi, G. and Gocke, R. (2003).  Treatment of gingivitis with hyaluronan. J. Clin. Periodontol.,30, 159-164.

Loesche WJ and Kazor C (2002). Microbiology and treatment of halitosis. Periodontology, 28: 256–79.

Mayooran B, Robin S and John R.T (2000). Dental caries is a preventable infectious disease. Aust. Dent. J, 45, 235-245.

Trahan L.X (1995). A review of its action on mutans streptococci and dental plaque–its clinical significance. Int. Dent. J, 45, 77-92.

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MicroDok

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