Halitosis, also known as “bad breath”, is the condition in which the mouth produces an abnormal odor, primarily an unpleasant one, which stems from different causes. The word halitosis is derived from Latin word “halitus”, which means breath, combined with the Greek suffix “osis”, which connotes a medical problem, in order to convey a concise, exact description of the disorder.
Halitosis is typically observed by others during activities which prompt you to open your mouth, but ironically, you cannot smell your own breath. Because of this, many Scottsdale, Az. residents remain oblivious to the fact that they have bad breath. Halitosis is often observed early in the morning, which may or may not be temporary “morning breath”. Transient halitosis, such as in the morning, is caused by keeping your mouth shut throughout the entire time you’re sleeping, and also due to the decreased production of saliva. Both conditions exaggerate the build-up of different foul gases coming from the mouth and stomach.
Classifications of Halitosis
Halitosis is caused by many factors, and are classified as physiological or pathological halitosis, and psychological or pseudo-halitosis. Physiological halitosis is caused by abnormalities present in the body, while psychological halitosis is due to sensory malfunction, such as an olfactory or neural malfunction, that causes the brain to misinterpret signals coming from your senses. Psychological halitosis may also stem from psychological problems in which you may think that you have halitosis, therefore creating a psychosomatic effect in which an odor is perceived in the brain but does not exist.
Most patients in Scottsdale, Az, can probably guess that 90% of the problems that cause physiological halitosis are found in the mouth, especially the tongue region. The tongue has a very large surface area, compared to any other structures found in the mouth, and this creates an optimal breeding ground for bacteria. The tongue is also rich in food for the bacteria, remnants of the food which you eat that remain stuck to the tongue or in between teeth. On top of that, the mouth is rich in moisture and water, from the saliva which is produced from the parotid glands, and from the intake of water. Water is needed by every life form, and foul smelling bacteria are no exception. The mouth also remains a fairly constant warm temperature, which makes it suitable for bacterial growth, and is protected from external factors such as sunlight, which is harmful to the bacteria.
Bacterial growth and metabolism produces by-products which can lead to halitosis, such as lactic acid and other acidic substances. Some bacteria may also produce or synthesize sulfur containing compounds, which characteristically have the odor of rotten eggs. Bacterial death may also release chemical compounds which contain sulfur.
According to Dr. Mark J. Fleming of Scottsdale, Az, most cases of halitosis can be prevented by brushing your teeth, cleaning your gums by flossing, and scraping your tongue after every meal. The tongue should specifically be cleaned using tongue cleaners, tongue sweeper and tongue brushes. These dental apparatuses clean the tongue through friction which and sweep off bacteria and dislodge food debris.
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