Causes of Chronic Halitosis and Bad Breath
Chronic halitosis, more commonly known as persistent bad breath, can be embarrassing. Even if you have the perfect smile and a winning personality, having bad breath can affect the way that others perceive you. While some bad breath is only present first thing in the morning or after eating certain types of food, this type of bad breath goes away quickly. Chronic halitosis does not. Mouthwash and breath mints only mask the problem. At Dailley Dental Care, Anthony Dailley, DDS can help.
Common Causes of Chronic Halitosis
There are a number of reasons why someone might develop a bad breath condition.
- Volatile Sulfur Compound (VSCs) Cause Bad Breath. In general, bad breath odors that we smell from someone with chronic halitosis are known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs). These chemical compounds are produced metabolically by a certain type of oral bacteria known as gram anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria cannot survive in a normal oxygenated environment and are typically found in hard to reach areas in the mouth where there is little to no oxygen.
- Chronic Halitosis Patients Have Higher Amount of VSCs. Those areas around the teeth that are below the gums are common areas to find these bacteria as well as the areas deep within the taste buds of the tongue. The VSCs typically have odors resembling rotten eggs or a sewer-like odor, which are the typical odors produced from a halitosis condition. These compounds normally exist to some extent in everyone’s mouths but the concentration is normally so low that they are undetectable to the human nose.
- Bacterial Imbalances can be Caused by Many Things. If the numbers of gram (-) anaerobic bacteria increase and the concentration of the VSCs rise, these odors may start to become apparent to others. There are a number of reasons why this bacterial imbalance may occur and at Dailley Dental Care, we make it a point to determine why these bacterial imbalances are occurring and correct them. Below we have listed some possible causes of chronic halitosis, and we have separated them into medical and dental causes.
Bad Breath Caused by Medical Issues
There are numerous medical conditions that can cause chronic halitosis. There are also several other medical conditions that can lead to bad breath that does not seem to have anything at all to do with it. Getting to the bottom of chronic halitosis, not only solves your bad breath, it can often lead to necessary treatments to eliminate underlying issues you may never have known existed.
Overview of Medical Issues Causing Chronic Halitosis
- Sinus infections & abnormal sinus anatomies, post nasal drainage (drips)
- Tonsilar infections or tonsillitis
- Lung diseases
- Kidney diseases
- Liver diseases
- Blood disorders
- Gallbladder dysfunction
Reasons why Medical Issues can Cause Chronic Halitosis
- Infections: Respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, sinusitis, tonsillitis, and other inflammation of the lungs, nose or throat can all contribute.
- Kidney Disease: The kidneys are essential for filtering out different types of minerals from the blood. When the kidneys do not function properly, the minerals build up, leading to a metallic taste in the mouth and an ammonia smell.
- Liver Disease: The liver filters out numerous toxins. If the liver does not work properly, these toxins are allowed to build up in the body and can affect the quality of your breath.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can also cause bad breath, and it can do so in one of two ways. One way is due to gum disease, which those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing. The other way is through excess ketones. Excess ketones can be fatal, and this condition causes breath that is fruity and sweet, rather than foul.
Bad Breath Caused by Oral Health Issues
Other than diabetes and sinus infections, most medical causes of a chronic halitosis conditions are fairly rare. Halitosis conditions that are a result of dental issues tend to be more common.
Overview of Oral Health Issues Causing Chronic Halitosis
- Oral cancers
- Allergy conditions
- Extensive dental decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Oral infections or abscesses
- Oral conditions resulting from post-nasal drips or discharges
- A proliferation of specific types of gram (-) anaerobic bacteria.
- Xerostomia (dry mouth condition). Many medications can contribute to a condition of xerostomia.
Reasons why Oral Health Issues can Cause Chronic Halitosis
- Tooth Decay: When you have gum disease, your gum tissue becomes irritated and inflamed, and it pulls away from your teeth. This leads to the formation of pockets. Oral bacteria and food particles become trapped in these pockets. The bacteria multiply, causing the pockets to grow deeper, and the food particles begin to decompose. Regular brushing and flossing cannot eliminate the debris trapped under your gum line.
- Caries / Cavities: Cavities are pits that form in the teeth as a result of acid erosion. When these pits form, bacteria take up residence inside, and they cannot easily be removed by brushing.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva is essential for oral health. It contains proteins that kill oral bacteria and aid in the remineralization of your teeth. Saliva also washes away oral bacteria and food particles. Insufficient saliva leads to dry mouth, a condition known as xerostomia. When your mouth is dry, it becomes the perfect environment that promotes bacterial growth. Dry mouth can be caused by many things, including alcohol, certain medications, and certain medical conditions.
- Tobacco: Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain numerous harmful chemicals. These chemicals can have a significant impact on your oral health, slowing your blood flow, affecting your immune system and your ability to heal, and increasing your risk for developing certain health conditions such as lung and oral cancer. Tobacco products have a distinct odor that affects your breath. They can also contribute to dry mouth.
Ready to Treat Your Chronic Bad Breath?*
Tired of wondering if your bad breath is making the wrong statement about your health? Frustrated by the myths and bad information out there? Anthony Dailley, DDS has the perfect solution to restore your self-confidence and your fresh breath. Call us today at (510) 883-3454 today to schedule your consultation with Anthony Dailley, DDS. You can also learn more by checking out our halitosis FAQ.
*Your results may vary.