Health Implications of Bad Breath

Research in over the past few decades has shown that not only is it a seriously embarrassing and socially crippling disease but it can have a detrimental effect on the internal surfaces of the mouth too. We know that, over a continuous period of time, exposure of the oral mucosa to these odoriferous gases, will cause breakdown and deterioration of the cell structure in the mouth. This can be irreversible over an extended period of time.

Consequently there are unmistakable links between periodontitis (severe gum disease) and oral malodour. The worse the disease the stronger the malodour. The correlation between the two seems to run in both directions as now it is believed prolonged bad breath may actually make your gingivitis (inflamed gums) or periodontitis (severe gum disease) worse.

Categories of Bad Breath

In 1996 halitosis was categorised into three groups

  • Genuine halitosis
  • Pseudo halitosis
  • Halitophobic

All three groups need assessment and treatment.

Halitophobia – A Fear of Having Bad Breath

At one stage or another we all fall into this category. Have you ever asked someone close to you ”does my breath smell?” I know I have! The dental team at The Fresh Breath Clinic is on high alert to this condition and we have no fears about telling one another if we have even a slight whiff of oral malodour. However, some people take this fear a step further and believe they are emitting a constant oral malodour all the time when in fact, they are not! This is halitophobia. Of the ‘halitosis’ visitors to our practice over 40% suffer this way. Halitophobia can range from a mild form where the person might have visited several clinics and specialists with regard to this issue prior to seeing us, to a more severe form in which the person becomes a recluse or begins to consider suicide. At the Fresh Breath Clinic we see such cases and as said above, will diagnose correctly and refer, if necessary,to an appropriate specialist. We work side by side with psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists.