Center for Breath Treatment Center for Breath Treatment

Causes of Bad Breath or Halitosis

What causes a halitosis or bad breath condition?

There are a number of reasons why somewhat might develop a bad breath condition. In general the odors that we smell from someone suffering from chronic halitosis are known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds. These are also referred to as VSCs, and they are chemical compounds that are produced metabolically by a certain type of bacteria known as gram (-) anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria cannot survive in a normal oxygenated environment so they are typically found in the hard to reach areas where there is little to no oxygen. 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. 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 the Center For Breath Treatment 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.

Medical Causes of Bad Breath

  1. Sinus infections & abnormal sinus anatomies, post nasal drainage (drips)
  2. Tonsilar infections or tonsiloliths
  3. Lung diseases
  4. Kidney diseases
  5. Liver diseases
  6. Blood disorders
  7. Diabetes
  8. Gallbladder dysfunction
  9. Menstruation
  10. Carcinomas

Dental Causes of Bad Breath

  1. Extensive dental decay
  2. Periodontal (gum) disease
  3. Oral infections or abscesses
  4. Oral cancers
  5. Xerostomia (dry mouth condition). Many medications can contribute to a condition of xerostomia.
  6. Oral conditions resulting from post-nasal drips or discharges
  7. Allergy conditions
  8. A proliferation of specific types of gram (-) anaerobic bacteria.

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.