Not sure if you have Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath? It is quite possible to have bad breath (Halitosis) and not be aware of it. The best way to find out is to ask your partner or dentist. To check at home, lick your wrist, wait about five seconds until the saliva dries, and then smell it — that's the way the end of your tongue smells.
To check the odor associated with the back portion of your tongue, take a spoon, turn it upside down, and use it to scrape the back portion of your tongue. Take a look at what’s been scrapped off — usually it's a thick, whitish material. The smell from this is probably the way your breath smells to others. For most people, the fundamental cause of bad breath is the sulphur-producing bacteria that live in the whitish coating on the surface of the back portion of their tongue and throat, as well as from the bacteria that live in other areas of the mouth. Mercifully, Halitosis is not infectious.
The treatment of Halitosis depends upon the underlying cause.
Major causes of Halitosis include:
- A dry mouth, caused by medicines, alcohol, stress, or a medical condition.
- Foods high in protein (meat, fish, milk, and cheese), sugar or acid (citrus juices).
- Smoking. This starves the mouth of oxygen.
- Dental factors such as periodontitis (infection around the teeth), or poor oral hygiene.
- Nasal and sinus infections.
Less common causes of halitosis include:
- Acid and bile reflux from the stomach.
- Post-nasal drip (due to chronic sinusitis).
- Hormonal factors such as menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
- Foods such as onions, garlic, or cauliflower, and alcohol and coffee
- Infection of the tonsils
There are a few systemic (non-oral) medical conditions that may cause foul breath odor, like liver and renal failure, but these are extremely infrequent in the general population.
It is important to check with your dentist or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) physician for the cause of your Halitosis.
The Top 10 ENT hospitals in the U.S. for the treatment of Halitosis are:
- Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md.
- Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.
- University of Pittsburg Medical Center, Pittsburg, Pa.
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA.
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
- University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.
- Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.
- University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Barnes-Jewish Hospital/ Washington University, Saint Louis, Mo.
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