Symptoms of Bad Breath

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How Do you Tell If You Have Halitosis

1. Bad Breath Smells
Smells are the most obvious symptom of halitosis. Bad breath is a unique problem, as having it, does not mean that you have sickness or problem, but it can also be a symptom of a sickness or problem such as liver failure, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid problems, and TMAU (fish odour syndrome). But in general, bad breath is due to the breakdown of proteins to amino acids and then onto smelly sulphur compounds. Bad breath is prevalent in both healthy people as well as sick people. Really bad breath will depend on the amount of protein able to be broken down, and the levels of bad breath bacteria that live in the mouth and throat.

Different bacteria will make different Volatile Gases and therefore different smells. If these volatile sulphur compounds are situated on the tongue or in the throat, then your bad breath will be noticeable when you talk or exhale, or sigh. If the volatile sulphur compounds are located in the nasal tract, then the smell will be obvious when you breath out through your nose with your mouth closed. An interesting point is that you cannot smell your own bad breath when you exhale, however you can smell it when exhaling through the nose. You can attend our Bad Breath Clinic in Sydney and have a breath reading done in as little as 8 minutes. The machinery will give you a definitive answer to your bad breath. Dr Speiser can then analyse your results and design a treatment that you can do at home to stop the offensive smells.

2. Bad Taste Or Taste Changes
Changes of taste in the mouth may happen for a number of reasons. Basically if you have a bad taste or a sour taste, then most likely you are tasting sulphur compounds that are collecting in your gums and tongue. However if you have a taste change or a metallic taste then this is an indicator of dry mouth or post nasal drip. These changes are caused by the lack of saliva which then thickens mucous collecting at the gag reflex line, or the back of the throat. .Also remember that overuse of mouthwash, drinking too much water, over use of gum with artificial sweetener and even overuse of chlorine dioxide, can all lead to a metallic or taste change in the mouth.
3. Coating On Your Tongue
Just as you get a coating on your teeth called plaque, everyone gets some coating also on their tongue. This coating is generally a mixture of sulphur compounds mixed with mucous and sometimes food particles or coffee or tea and probably bacteria. If this coating is not cleaned away every 24 hours then it will mature and allow bad breath bacteria to live and grow within. It is bacteria in this coating that people smell when you exhale whilst talking. Another way to check your tongue is to rub a clean handkerchief over the tongue surface. Have a look at what the handkerchief removes and also smell the handkerchief.
4. Tonsil Stones (Tonsiloliths)
Patients that have post nasal problems often report coughing up small condensed stones that smell awful. These tonsil stones are made from compressed sulphur compounds, mucous, and bacteria all mixed together and then compressed in the throat. The Tonsil Stones are then carried forward by the tongue action during the day. Tonsil stones are an excellent indicator of nasal problems causing bad breath. If you produce enough mucous to form tonsil stones then quite likely you also have mucous lining your nasal passages. This mucous can be thick enough to support bad breath bacteria. One test is to see if you can smell bad breath when you are breathing out through your nose.
5. Lick Wrist Test
This is not the most accurate of tests and should only be considered in combination with other symptoms or tests. Lick the back of your wrist. Allow the licked area to dry for 10 seconds, and then smell that area. This way you are smelling the crystals deposited on the back of the hand. If it has an odour, then you have bad breath. This test is good for when you are out and about and you need a quick breath check.
6. Scraping The Back Of The Tongue
This is by far a more reliable indicator of bad breath. Take a spoon or tongue cleaner and scrape from the very back of the tongue. You can then smell this coating to see if there is an odour. If there is a smell then this indicates that you have a collection of biofilm that is older than 12 hours and needs to be cleaned. This is a very reliable bad breath test.
7. Hints From Other People
This is probably the most unreliable test, as it plays on each person's individual personality. Hints can be: someone rubbing their nose while you talk, someone moving away while you talk to them, or an offer of mints or gum. This should not be accepted as a sign of a breath problem, unless you can verify the problem with at least one other test described above.

If you would like to discuss your symptoms call our office on 1300 653 335


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