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Halitosis (Bad Breath)

The condition of having stale or foul-smelling breath.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wiktionary)

About Halitosis

Halitosis is an unpleasant odour that originates from the mouth and can be serious enough to cause personal embarrassment. Up to half of the population in the USA and between 50% and 60% of the population in France claim to suffer from bad breath.

Accumulation of halitosis-causing bacteria and food residues at the back and in the furrows of the tongue which are then broken down into volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) and other volatile compounds are considered to be the major causes of bad breath... Read more about Halitosis

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Increased fruit and vegetable intake to prevent cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global burden and varies between regions. This regional variation has been linked in part to dietary factors and low fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with higher rates of CVD. This review assessed the effectiveness of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a single intervention without the influence of other dietary patterns or other lifestyle modifications in healthy adults and those at high risk of CVD for the prevention of CVD. We found 10 trials involving 1730 participants in which six examined the provision of fruit and vegetables to increase intake and four trials examined dietary advice to increase fruit and vegetable intake. There were variations in the type of fruit and vegetable provided but all interventions investigating provision involved only one fruit or vegetable component. There were also variations in the number of fruit and vegetables that participants were advised to eat. Some studies advised participants to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day while others advised at least eight or nine servings per day.The duration of the interventions ranged from three months to one year. Adverse effects were reported in three of the included trials and included increased bowel movements, bad breath and body odour. None of the included trials were long enough to examine the effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption on cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks. There was no strong evidence that provision of one type of fruit or vegetable had beneficial effects on blood pressure and lipid levels but most trials were short term. There was some evidence to suggest beneficial effects of dietary advice to increase fruit and vegetable consumption but this is based on findings from two trials. More trials are needed to confirm these findings.

Toothbrushing versus toothbrushing plus tongue cleaning in reducing halitosis and tongue coating: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Halitosis affects people of all ages. Among hospitalized patients, oral care includes toothbrushing and mouth rinses. Tongue cleaning is not included in most guidelines or nursing education curricula.

Effectiveness of mechanical tongue cleaning on breath odour and tongue coating: a systematic review

BACKGROUND: The objective of this review was to summarize the available evidence regarding the effects of mechanical tongue cleaning compared with no mechanical tongue cleaning on breath odour and tongue coating (TC).

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Summaries for consumers

Increased fruit and vegetable intake to prevent cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global burden and varies between regions. This regional variation has been linked in part to dietary factors and low fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with higher rates of CVD. This review assessed the effectiveness of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a single intervention without the influence of other dietary patterns or other lifestyle modifications in healthy adults and those at high risk of CVD for the prevention of CVD. We found 10 trials involving 1730 participants in which six examined the provision of fruit and vegetables to increase intake and four trials examined dietary advice to increase fruit and vegetable intake. There were variations in the type of fruit and vegetable provided but all interventions investigating provision involved only one fruit or vegetable component. There were also variations in the number of fruit and vegetables that participants were advised to eat. Some studies advised participants to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day while others advised at least eight or nine servings per day.The duration of the interventions ranged from three months to one year. Adverse effects were reported in three of the included trials and included increased bowel movements, bad breath and body odour. None of the included trials were long enough to examine the effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption on cardiovascular disease events such as heart attacks. There was no strong evidence that provision of one type of fruit or vegetable had beneficial effects on blood pressure and lipid levels but most trials were short term. There was some evidence to suggest beneficial effects of dietary advice to increase fruit and vegetable consumption but this is based on findings from two trials. More trials are needed to confirm these findings.

What treatments can be used to prevent and treat alveolar osteitis (dry socket)?

Dry socket is a condition that sometimes arises when teeth have been extracted and is more likely to occur following extraction of wisdom teeth in the lower jaw. It is thought to be linked to the loss of some or all of the blood clot that forms at the bottom of a socket after a tooth is taken out, although other factors are probably also involved. Dry socket can be very painful for several days after an extraction and people with this condition can also experience bad breath. The condition can result in more visits to the dentist or dental hospital and other inconveniences such as time lost from work.

Interventions for cleaning dentures in adults

Plaque formed on the surfaces of removable dentures can have a significant impact on oral health, as long as it can lead to infection of denture‐supporting mucosa (stomatitis), gum inflammation (gingivitis) and tooth decay. Denture plaque can be removed by several different methods which include: brushing with paste, soaking in chemicals (e.g. effervescent tablets or bleach) and using special devices (a microwave oven or ultrasonic device).

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Terms to know

Bacteria
A large group of single-cell microorganisms. Some cause infections and disease in animals and humans. The singular of bacteria is bacterium.
Intraoral
Within the mouth.
Malodor
Unpleasant odor.
Oral Cavity (Mouth)
Refers to the mouth. It includes the lips, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the front two thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums, the floor of the mouth under the tongue, the bony roof of the mouth, and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.
Tongue
Large muscle on the floor of the mouth that manipulates food for chewing and swallowing. It is the main organ of taste, and assists in forming speech sounds.
Tongue Scraper
Designed to clean the bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue.

More about Halitosis

Photo of an adult

Also called: Feter oris, Breath odour, Breath odor, Malodorous breath, Halitoses

Other terms to know: See all 6
Bacteria, Intraoral, Malodor

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