Bad breath or halitosis is a common condition observed to be present in around 30% of the population. Usually, it is not noticed by the individual suffering from bad breath and is brought to their attention by their friends or family. While bad breath is generally of no major medical concern, it can cause significant distress to the individual. In addition, there are some serious diseases like cancers of the oral cavity which can present with bad breath and should not be ignored.
Physiologic bad breath:
This is the common form noted in normal individuals in the mornings. This occurs due to the action of bacteria on the tiny food particles between the teeth and on the surface of the tongue. It resolves with cleansing the mouth and brushing teeth. It can also be observed in relation to certain food and drinks. Garlic and onions are infamous for causing bad breath along with smoking tobacco. However, sometimes you might need a dentist to solve this problem. In such cases, you should check out this dentist in San Francisco CA for all the relevant dental treatments.
Pathologic bad breath:
There are multiple conditions that can lead to bad breath.
Subjective bad breath or pseudo-halitosis:
This when a person perceives to have bad breath when there is no observable presence of malodor. This is associated with excessive concern over having bad breath and is usually psychological.
Apart from the presence of notable bad odor from the mouth, the individual may experience various other symptoms depending on the underlying cause
It is recommended to meet with a primary care physician or a dentist to evaluate the underlying cause of the bad breath. The following tests can be done to identify if the bad breath is due to a serious condition requiring specialist care
Physical exam: A thorough examination of the mouth, teeth, and gums is done. The throat and nose is also examined. Subjective tests assessing the severity of the bad breath is made by the physician.
Imaging studies: X-ray of the head and neck, the chest may be done to look for any mass or chronic lung disease. A CT scan may be needed to further assess for tumors