Common Symptoms and Warning Signs of Chronic Halitosis
Some common signs and symptoms of a bad breath condition include:
- Lack of self-esteem or personal confidence
- Your bad breath remains despite excellent oral hygiene habits
- Bad tastes in your mouth such as metallic, bitter, or even sour tastes
- Xerostomia (dry mouth condition)
- Yellow or white coating on your tongue
- Noticeable drainage in the back of your throat from your sinuses
Explore our guide to learn more about each of these symptoms.
Lack of Self-Esteem or Personal Confidence
Over the many years of treating patients with chronic halitosis, one of the more common symptoms we’ve seen is the lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. In fact, almost every patient we’ve seen with a chronic breath problem has suffered from a self esteem issue of one kind or another. Some of these cases can be quite mild but others have been very debilitating, and there have even been documented cases of suicide among chronic halitosis patients.
One of the great pleasures we get from helping our patients is when we get to see them undergo a dramatic improvement in their self-confidence. They literally become a different person, and this can ultimately lead to improvements in their social life and professional career.
The rapidness at which these changes take place will of course vary individually, but the longer an individual has had their breath condition, the longer it will take for their self-esteem to return to normal.
Understanding the psychological ramifications that chronic halitosis may have on a patient has allowed us to further assist our patients in overcoming these issues. This has proven to be an invaluable service to our patients, as eliminating a chronic breath problem can often be a life-changing event.
Good Oral Hygiene Doesn’t Stop Your Bad Breath
Most patients that seek our help are actually practicing excellent oral hygiene at home, and many in fact are too aggressive both in how frequently they brush and floss, and how hard they do it. The bacteria that you’re trying to brush away from the surfaces of your teeth aren’t responsible for causing odors, so excessive brushing will generally be ineffective.
Some of the side effects of aggressive oral hygiene habits are sensitive teeth, gum recession, and dry mouth. One of the most common contributors to halitosis we have seen over the years is having a dry mouth, and excessive brushing can actually worsen a breath condition by drying out your mouth.
Bad Tastes in Your Mouth
Most patients that we see in our clinic will often complain of bad tastes in their mouth. Certain medications, dry mouth conditions, post-nasal drainage, infections, and defective or aging dental work can be a cause of these taste issues.
Dry mouth conditions are probably the most common cause of bad tastes, and the extent of the dry mouth doesn’t have to be severe in order to produce taste issues for an individual. Even a minimal reduction in salivary flow can result in changes in a person’s taste, and also contribute to a halitosis condition.
Not all bad tastes are necessarily associated with bad breath. Dr. Dailley, who has had extensive experience in this area, will be able to discern whether a taste issue is really associated with a breath problem.
Xerostomia (Dry Mouth Condition)
One of the most common contributors to a halitosis problem is having a dry mouth condition. Dry mouth, otherwise known as Xerostomia, will result in a number of changes to your oral environment. These changes can result in not only the onset of a halitosis condition, but also other dental maladies such as severe tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Because there are less oral fluids when your mouth is dry, the concentration of oral bacteria can increase dramatically. You’ll also experience changes in the pH of your saliva, and volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) will be able to more easily evaporate or volatilize into the oral environment.
The altered oral pH will provide an environment in your mouth that makes it easier for anaerobic bacteria to thrive. This can result in an increase in your anaerobic bacteria levels. Anaerobic bacteria are known to produce the VSC’s that are responsible for oral malodors.
Xerostomia often is a result of aging, inadequate fluid consumption, numerous prescription medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications, or alcohol-based mouth rinses. Conditions such as Sjogren’s disease and radiation treatment are some other less commonly seen causes of xerostomia.
We generally recommend that you consume at least 8 glasses, or two quarts, of water per day as a start. There are also saliva-stimulating products available in the market that can aid a person suffering from xerostomia.
Yellow or White Coating on Your Tongue
Commonly, we’ll see patients in our clinic exhibit tongues that have a yellowish or whitish coating on the top surface. This coating is primarily made up of bacteria and mucous, with the source of the mucous being your sinus region.
By the time most patients have made it to our office, they’ve already been cleaning their tongue using a number of different methods. This film or tongue coating tends to be thickest in the posterior region of the tongue. Unfortunately, completely removing the layer of mucous and bacteria from the surface of your tongue doesn’t necessarily resolve your breath problem.
The coating that has been described here is generally more prevalent in patients who have longer taste buds. The longer your taste buds, the more likely it is that bacteria and mucous will get trapped between the taste buds of your tongue. Many people with significant post-nasal drainage are actually depositing heavy amounts of mucous on their tongues without even being aware of it.
Noticeable Sinus Drainage in the Back of Your Throat
Drainage in the back of your throat that originates in the sinuses is generally referred to as post-nasal drainage. The most common causes of this are allergies and various sinus issues. Having this condition can result in the frequent need to clear your throat. It’s important to understand that there’s a normal level of drainage that’s natural, but excessive drainage can often go unnoticed by an individual.
Mucous generally contains bacteria and proteins from your sinuses. When the mucous is allowed to build up on your tongue, it produces what’s called a biofilm. The biofilm will provide an ideal environment for the halitosis-causing bacteria to flourish. At the same time, proteins in the mucous are broken down into individual amino acids that turn out to be a good source of food for the anaerobic bacteria that produce oral malodor.
Treat Your Chronic Bad Breath Today*
Tired of wondering if your bad breath is making the wrong statement about your health? Anthony Dailley, DDS has the perfect solution to restore your self-confidence and your fresh breath.
*Your results may vary.