- White or Yellow Film on the Tongue
- Dry Mouth
- Bitter, Sour, or Metallic Tastes
- Post Nasal Drainage
- White Nodules on the Tonsils
- Brushing and Dental Flossing the Teeth Makes no Difference
- A Loss of Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
White or Yellow Film on the Tongue
This is a very common observation we see in halitosis sufferers. It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and nasal mucous and tends to be heaviest in the posterior regions of the tongue. The removal of this film typically does not completely eliminate halitosis for most patients. The reason for this is that the anaerobic bacteria that produce halitosis odors are found throughout the entire mouth and in the saliva. If you have longer or larger taste buds (papillae), then you will have a greater potential to trap bacteria in the tongue’s papillae. If you have heavy amounts of these yellow or white films there is a good chance you may have halitosis. We have found that patients who rapidly build up films on their tongue often have ongoing post nasal (mucous) drainage that they may or may not be aware of. It is important to reduce this drainage and the Hydro Pulse sinus irrigator and the Breath-Ease XL saline powder has proven to be very helpful in achieving this.
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Dry mouth is a common symptom with people suffering from halitosis, and it is one of the main causes of halitosis. Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, causes a number of changes to occur in the mouth. First of all the bacteria become more concentrated in the saliva, and they tend to volatilize or evaporate more readily into the air. When this occurs, bad breath will be stronger and more noticeable at greater distances. Additionally, the pH or acid/base balance of the mouth becomes altered, and this provides an environment that is more conducive to the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Because there is less saliva the flushing or cleansing effect of saliva is reduced. This results in more bacteria and cellular debris accumulating in the oral cavity. Common causes of xerostomia are aging, insufficient fluid intake, using alcohol-based mouth rinses, and numerous medications. Some common medications that can cause drying of the mouth are allergy medications, anti-depressives, blood pressure medications, and diuretics just to name a few. Coffee is considered a diuretic. Some less common causes are radiation treatment to the head and neck areas, patients suffering from Sjogrens Syndrome, diabetes, and other auto-immune diseases. The first and simplest thing we recommend patients do is be sure that they are consuming at least the recommended daily allowance of water which is eight glasses of water per day. Chewing sugarless gum also helps to increase salivary flow while chewing. Despite numerous products claiming they can eliminate or significantly improve dry mouth conditions, we have only found one product so far that significantly helps the problem. Besides causing halitosis, xerostomia often results in a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth. Without a doubt xerostomia is very difficult to eliminate entirely, but even if a patient’s xerostomia remains we can still effectively treat their halitosis condition.
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Bitter, Sour, or Metallic Tastes
Commonly patients with halitosis will complain of bad tastes in their mouth. Typical descriptions are sour, bitter, or even metallic tastes. These tastes are commonly the result of drainage from the sinus, medications being taken, dry mouth conditions, dental infections, leaking dental restorations, and certain oral bacteria. The most common cause of a bad taste is due to a dry mouth condition. Dry mouth does not necessarily mean one has a “cotton mouth.” It can merely be a reduction in salivary flow. This minimal reduction in salivary flow can, however, result in a halitosis condition. The bacteria that are responsible for halitosis can also be a cause of bad tastes in the mouth. Usually we find it is a combination of the above things that cause patients to suffer from bad tastes in their mouth. Some of the causes of bad tastes do not have the ability to produce bad breath, so taste can be a misleading symptom. Remember taste is very individualized, and no two people in the world taste things identically.
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Post Nasal Drainage
Post nasal drainage is commonly a result of certain sinus conditions and allergies. It is a thick mucous that slowly drains in the posterior region of the throat from the nasal or sinus regions, and can result in a person needing to “clear” their throat a lot. A person can have a very mild form of allergies that they may not even be aware of which can result in a mild drainage of mucous from the sinuses. That individual may or may not even be aware of this drainage. A significant amount of this mucous does end up in the mouth and is a common contributor to halitosis conditions. Mucous typically contains plentiful amounts of bacteria and proteins from the sinus. These proteins are then broken down to amino acids that the anaerobic bacteria feed upon. The mucous also protects the halitosis causing bacteria from being exposed to oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria can not survive in the presence of oxygen and being shielded by mucous allows the halitosis causing bacteria to thrive and produce bad breath odors. Individuals suffering from a cold or flu commonly generate large amounts of this mucous. This can also result in halitosis even in individuals who don’t normally suffer from chronic bad breath. Many nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that are very expensive, very drying to the sinuses and nasal passages, and are considered by many to be undesirable with long term use. The best and safest method we have found to deal with post nasal drainage is to use the Hydro-Pulse Sinus & Nasal Irrigation system and the Breath-Ease XL Formulated Powdered Saline to flush the sinuses of the different factors that produce the phlegm. To learn more about the Hydro-Pulse sinus irrigator see Hydro-Pulse Sinus & Nasal Irrigator.
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White Nodules on the Tonsils
We commonly receive questions regarding the “smelly ” nodules that are secreted from the tonsils. A simple fact is that if you have your tonsils you will get these. They range in size from 1mm-4mm in size and smell very badly when placed to one’s nostril. Most of the time people aren’t even aware of them because they are swallowed without their knowledge. Occasionally, however, one will get dislodged and we become aware of them. Due to the bad odor of these nodules many people automatically assume these are the source of their bad breath. As it turns out these are not the cause of halitosis and their odor can only be noticed if they are place right at the entrance of the nostril. If you hold them at arm’s length you will notice that their odor is undetectable. Unfortunately we have come across scores of patients, who in their attempt to eliminate their halitosis, have undergone tonsillectomies only to find that the removal of the tonsils made no difference in their breath odors. Do not consider the removal of the tonsils as a means to eliminating halitosis. It is both very painful and quite ineffective. Only in rare situations should the tonsils be removed as a means of eliminating a halitosis condition.
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Brushing and Dental Flossing the Teeth Makes no Difference
This is something we hear pretty routinely from patients. In fact some patients have indicated that they feel their halitosis condition actually worsens after brushing their teeth. Because of the types of bacteria and where they are typically located, frequent tooth brushing and flossing cannot reduce the anaerobic bacteria significantly enough to completely eliminate a halitosis condition. In fact, most of the patients we treat for halitosis have excellent oral hygiene with very little plaque and tarter. As mentioned before, tooth brushing has actually been known to temporarily worsen many individuals’ breath conditions because brushing the teeth actually causes a temporary drying of the mouth. This then results in an increased evaporation of the volatile sulfur compounds into the air. Because of this and the potential for excessive wear to the teeth and gum tissues, we advise against excessively frequent brushing and flossing. Often times we see patients brushing their teeth excessively and this ends up exacerbating their bad breath condition. It also can result in damage to their teeth and gums.
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A Loss of Self Confidence and Self Esteem
Every patient we have treated or spoken to has complained of a lack of self confidence or self esteem due to their halitosis condition. The degree of this problem varies from being a mild problem to one that is severe enough to cause suicidal tendencies. It is an especially difficult problem since it is very difficult to impossible for many individuals to accurately assess their own breath odors. Most patients we treat end up with tremendously improved levels of self-confidence, thus allowing them to function normally in all social and professional settings. The speed at which this occurs depends on each individual, and how long they have had their halitosis condition. When patients receive treatment in our clinic we always work with them to help them improve their self confidence. This often proves to be an invaluable service to our patients, especially if a person has been struggling with a halitosis condition for a long period of time. It is not uncommon to see patients who have had a halitosis condition for 20 or more years. The length of time a person has had a bad breath condition has no bearing on how difficult it will be to resolve it.
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