What is halitosis and its causes?

Halitosis or bad breath is usually associated with poor oral hygiene, but it can also be a symptom of certain pathologies. Know its possible causes and what are the best remedies to combat it.

Halitosis or bad breath is a common disorder that affects nearly half of the population at some point in their lives. Various causes can cause the characteristic bad smell of halitosis. However, the most common is related to the oral cavity’s poor hygiene, which facilitates the accumulation of tartar and, therefore, the proliferation of bacteria that produce substances that release the unpleasant smell. Tongue piercings or very extensive cavities can also cause it.

Some diseases of the respiratory system, such as lung cancer, sinusitis, or bronchitis, as well as those that occur in the digestive tract, such as gastritis, hiatal hernia, or the presence of Helicobacter pylori, can also cause an unpleasant smell to the that a solution must be found as soon as possible to avoid affecting the health and social life of the person.

The scarcity of saliva, with the consequent dry mouth, is also associated with halitosis. The salivary glands secrete a fluid composed of 99% water, saliva, which has antiseptic properties and fulfills the function of keeping the oral cavity clean. Lubricated saliva is not enough; oral hygiene suffers.

Halitosis is very unpleasant. For those who suffer from it, the problem is not so much in the smell (which they usually do not perceive) as in the insecurity that it causes. Those affected feel shame and fear of disturbing other people, they feel dirty and guilty about their bad breath, and their social relationships deteriorate. In addition, in the most serious cases, the people around you also find the smell unbearable.

Causes of halitosis

The bad breath or halitosis can be a sign of developing a disease, such as chronic renal failure (in this case, the breath smells ammonia), diabetes poorly controlled, sinusitis, an alteration in the functioning of the liver, lung infection, or gastrointestinal problems.

The consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or coffee and certain foods such as garlic and onion are also related to the appearance of halitosis or bad breath.

There are also numerous drugs that have as a side effect the decrease in saliva production, and having a dry mouth generates bad breath.

A diet low can also cause halitosis in carbohydrates. The lack of these nutrients, which we can find in foods such as pasta, cereals, potatoes, rice, bread, and legumes, causes the body to use fat to get the energy it needs. When metabolizing fats, ketosis or ketoacidosis occurs, resulting in an increase in ketones in the blood and urine. Bad breath, in this case, is the consequence of the elimination of small amounts of acetone, which produces a characteristic odor.

However, the root of the problem is found, in 90% of cases, in the excessive proliferation of bacteria in the mouth, which induces the formation of bacterial plaque on the teeth and produces acids and volatile sulfated compounds, which are those responsible for the bad smell.

When suffering from halitosis, certain situations can further aggravate the problem, such as wearing dentures, snoring, poor quality fillings and crowns, having cavities, sinusitis, sores or infections in the oral cavity, stress, tobacco consumption, and, of course, xerostomia or dry mouth.

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