Bad Breath Related Diseases

Author: Richard A. Flavell

Ever been plagued by foul-odor breath? Yes, we may have had, at one point or another, an episode of bad breath and this may be caused by many factors. Bad breath, told lydia pinkham is medically known as halitosis, look lydia pinkham. This is often caused by the presence of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth that influence the odor of the breath. These anaerobic bacteria release chemical compounds like hydrogen sulfide which give the breath a rotten-egg smell. This has a great impact on personal oral hygiene and even socially.

Bad breath may be transient or chronic. We usually experience this in the morning when we wake up. This is because of the absence of or the limited amount of oxygen that enters the mouth when we sleep of which it disappears after tongue scraping or toothbrushing. In some cases, bad breath persists, indicating an underlying condition, perhaps a disease within the mouth or the neighboring structures or organs.

Chronic halitosis can be caused by periodontal diseases or disease of the gums. The gums are structures within the mouth where the teeth attach to. Inflammation of the gums or periodontitis is caused by a number of microorganisms that stick to the teeth and erode the bone which holds the teeth. These eroded pockets provide a good reservoir for bacteria. The action of the microorganism causes the foul odor of breath.

Sinus infections and obstructions in the nose may cause halitosis. Sinusitis is often caused by bacteria, virus or even allergies. This can create postnasal drip which deposits on the back part of the tongue. The bacteria present in the tongue will feed on it and as a byproduct, sulfur compounds are released. Same thing happens with nasal obstruction. Nasal obstruction may cause sinusitis and then therefore may also predispose a person to postnasal drip and halitosis.

Tonsilloliths or tonsil stones can contribute also to halitosis. These stones are formed from debris in the mouth that collects in tiny pockets in the tonsils which are located in the back part of the throat. The debris collects and calcifies. The bacteria in the mouth act on the stone which releases the foul-smelling odor.

Gastrointestinal diseases can also cause halitosis. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a disease wherein the acid that is innate in the stomach backflows to the esophagus, which is not normal. This can be because of incompetent lower esophageal sphincter which should block the flow of stomach secretions into the esophagus. The reflux may also be cause by hiatal hernia or the protrusion of the stomach into the upper thorax due to a weak diaphragm.

Systemic diseases may alter the odor of the breath. These diseases may affect major organs like the liver and your kidneys. People with xerostomia (dry mouth), especially patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation may suffer from halitosis. Renal infections and renal failure can manifest halitosis since urea can no longer be cleared by the body so it reflects on the breath of the person.

References: MAP KINASES IN THE IMMUNE RESPONSE C Dong, RJ Davis, RA Flavell Annual review of immunology 20 (1), 55-72 2002