Halitosis, synonymous with bad breath, is a condition characterized by the emission of unpleasant odors through the respiratory act.


To learn more: Causes Halitosis

Halitosis and Health of the Mouth

The causes are numerous and range from the banal ingestion of particular foods, such as garlic and onion, to real pathologies.

More often, however, halitosis reflects a local problem; decayed or pyorrhea teeth, as well as poor oral hygiene, are often associated with halitosis.

This unpleasant symptom is caused by the interdental stagnation of food residues degraded by plaque bacteria; a decayed tooth, for example, can turn into a small reservoir of food debris, which like all decomposing organic substances produces bad smells. Fortunately, saliva and sips of water help to clean the teeth and the oral cavity, removing both food residues and bacteria; on the other hand, nocturnal rest decreases the salivary flow and this explains, at least in part, why bad breath is particularly common when waking up and smoking (smoking, besides containing substances that give the breath an unpleasant odor, promotes dry mouth).

Trivia: Why does the breath smell bad when I wake up? »

Halitosis and Diseases

The halitosis typical of rhino-pharyngeal infections (rhinitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis) and of some pulmonary diseases (bronchiectasia, pulmonary abscess) is due to the presence of mucopurulent and necrotic material. Bad breath can also be an expression of an advanced liver disease, and in this case it takes on a smell similar to fish (ammoniacal halitosis), or kidney failure (when it recalls that of urine); the fruity exhalations of diabetic ketoacidosis are more pleasing.

Even taking certain drugs, such as certain antibiotics, can give your breath an unpleasant smell.

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Cures and Remedies

Importance of Oral Hygiene

To prevent and combat halitosis, thorough oral hygiene is essential; only the scrupulous cleaning of teeth with a toothbrush, dental floss and abundant rinses (possibly flavored), ensures a deep removal of food residues, removing the bad breath.

This concept should be clear to many people who attribute their halitosis to gastric problems (stomach acid, difficult digestions, etc.), without knowing that these disorders actually play a marginal or even zero role.

We must not forget that the esophagus is closed at its ends by two muscular rings, which open only to allow food to pass through, belching and vomiting. The incontinence of the inferior ring, typical of gastroesophageal reflux, can however be accompanied by frequent eructations and rising of acid material in the esophagus, giving the breath an unpleasant smell.

Even the correct cleaning of the tongue plays a fundamental role in combating halitosis.

Other Remedies

To learn more: Remedies for alitosis

In the presence of halitosis, if the pathologies listed in the last paragraph can be excluded, it is important to go to the dentist to rule out unhealthy states of the oral cavity and remedy them if necessary.

In the absence of local pathological conditions, the dentist himself will recommend a series of remedies to combat halitosis. The first, already mentioned, concerns the respect of simple hygienic rules, widely illustrated in the article: caries and oral hygiene.

Secondly, he will be able to recommend mouthwashes and preparations for rinses and gargles with antiseptic and covering action (the most widely used are those based on mint and menthol, parsley, fennel, rosemary, coriander and eucalyptus).

Curiosity: Mouthwashes: effective against halitosis? »