Prof. Dr. Birkan Taha Özkan - Dental Specialist

Bad Breath (Halitosis) Treatment

Bad breath is a disturbing thing to suffer in social life. People try many different ways to treat this bad breath that spreads with each breath. Internationally recognized as a problem that must be dealt with, many people are negatively affected from it. Patients suffering from halitosis may even refrain from having social interactions from fear of their bad breath making others uncomfortable. For such cases, medical treatment and necessary preventative measures are required to treat this problem.

What are its symptoms?

Many different disorders and diseases may result with bead breath. Patients suffering from diabetes may have a whiff of acetone on their mouth. Patients suffering from renal impairment may have an oral smell reminiscent of fish, while patients suffering from metabolic irregularities may smell like rotten fish. Bad breath may also be observed in those patients suffering from liver problems, or in hungry people with dry mouths or fasting.

What causes it?

Nowadays, patients suffering from halitosis are diagnosed under three main categories,

  • in-mouth causes,
  • external causes,
  • psychological causes,

Most cases of halitosis, around %85 are caused by in-mouth factors. The main culprit can be named as the sulfuric ions inside the mouth. This problem can be seen as a negative indication of the state of our general health and may affect our communication and relationship with others, our social life, or even our marriage.

In-Mouth Factors

The main reason for halitosis and caused by factors such as, tooth decay, food particles stuck on gum tissue, food scraps on top of tongue, dental plaque and diseases caused by dental plaque accumulation, nickel from the porcelain veneers, bone thinning around implants, bone infections, food particles stuck on orthodontic braces, insufficient saliva secretion, sinusitis, post-nasal drip, nasal polyps, salivary gland infections, upper respiratory tract infection, thyroid nodules, vocal cords nodules, and throat diseases.

External Factors

External factors that occur outside of mouth which causes halitosis. Gastrointestinal disorders, pulmonary diseases, kidney problems, diabetes, liver failure, aging and ingestion of certain foods may cause halitosis.

Psychological Factors

Can be said to be one of the reasons of halitosis. Excessive stress, symptoms of depression, compulsive tendencies, difficulty in expressing feelings and self, feeling inferior, excessive self-critical tendencies, excessive anxiety may increase the likelihood of halitosis. Some patients suffer from a fear of halitosis instead of actual bad breath, in such cases, dental specialists and psychiatrists collaborate for the treatment.

Treatment methods

In order to treat halitosis, dentists, family doctors, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontology specialists, otorhinolaryngologic specialists, and gastrointestinal specialists may provide opinion and the correct method of treatment can then be decided on. Since most of the cases are caused by in-mouth factors, the diagnosis should first be made by dentists and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon.

Treatment of cavities with fillings, proper application of tooth filling in cases where teeth are in direct contact with each other as to prevent food particles from sticking, periodic examinations performed by a dentist, and repair or reapplication of decayed fillings are the recommended courses of action.

Amalgam fillings are recommended to be replaced if they are causing electrical charges, galvanic current and halitosis. Patients suffering from halitosis are usually recommended to perform their daily oral hygiene routines more diligently, such as periodic controls for dental plaques, use of dental floss, cleaning of tongue and palate from chemical remains, periodic status and hygienic controls for removable denture. Infections and bone thinning occurring around implants can be treated by restoring & cleaning the implant. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatments are recommended to exercise more diligence in regards to their oral hygiene.

Water intake is important, considering the saliva’s protective properties against dental plaque. In order to prevent halitosis, consumption of cinnamon and apple and chewing gums must be limited, nasal blockages must be prevented, intake of artificial sweeteners and food coloring should be refrained from, food must be properly chewed and the patient must refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol. If the patient still suffers from halitosis despite all this, then expert opinion of other medical branches must be sought off, as directed by the dental specialist.