Bad Breath Halitosis
It’s been written that someone called bad breath halitosis many years ago in a deliberate attempt to create a medical term for a common problem. At the time, bad breath was regarded as more of a personal hygiene issue than a medical problem. The name stuck but it was still a long time before anyone really started taking breath odor seriously from a medical perspective, and today, halitosis is not the proper medical term – physicians say “fetor oris,” “ozostomia,” or “stomatodysodia.”
But whatever you want to call it, a bad breath problem is still a social challenge for anyone unfortunate enough to suffer from it. Fortunately, medicine and science have been paying more attention in recent years, and even though its root causes are still not completely understood, there are now some real research-based methods to combat bad breath halitosis. The best of these are based on the knowledge that the odor is almost always being produced by oral bacteria living in the mouth.
Since sometime in the 1940s, medicine has been combating bacteria, like the ones that cause bad breath halitosis and many more serious infections, with antibiotics – drugs that kill bacteria. There are problems with antibiotics however: sometimes they don’t reach the site of infection; sometimes bacteria develop resistance to them, and often they fail to kill off all of the bacteria they’re being aimed at. When some bacteria remain, they begin to multiply anew as soon as the antibiotic is withdrawn. In cases where antibiotics and antiseptics are used to treat a persistent bad breath problem, the odor usually recurs because bacteria return to their former levels after treatment is discontinued.
The point is that, in order to permanently treat a bad breath problem, you need to treat the root cause. It might be a medical problem like sinusitis or gum disease. It might be something systemic, a situation that would require diagnosis by a medical doctor. It might be a dietary deficiency of some kind. If you want to be free of bad breath halitosis, get a complete medical checkup and a dental examination. Assess your lifestyle and dietary habits and try to improve things, even if it just means taking a vitamin supplement. And while you are working on the problem, use one of the trusted brand name breath products aimed at cutting down the population of odor-producing bacteria living in your mouth and causing bad breath, halitosis, fetor oris, or whatever you choose to call it.
R. Drysdale is a freelance writer with more than 25 years experience as a health care professional. She is a contributing editor to Bad Breath Halitosis, a blog dedicated to the treatment of bad breath.