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Halitosis

Dr. John Hsiang, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist

What Is Halitosis / Constant Bad Breath?

Halitosis, also known as constant bad breath, is a common oral health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It refers to the unpleasant odour that comes from the mouth, which can be embarrassing and often leads to social anxiety and low self-esteem.

While everyone experiences bad breath occasionally, persistent or chronic bad breath can be a sign of an underlying issue in the mouth or body.

What Are The Causes of Halitosis?

In some cases, there are several possible causes of halitosis, including poor oral hygiene, certain foods and drinks, smoking and tobacco use, dry mouth, and dental issues such as cavities or gum disease.

Bad breath can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as sinus infections, respiratory tract infections, liver or kidney disease.

However, it is essential to note that these symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause of halitosis. For example, a dry mouth can be caused by dehydration or certain medications, while a white coating on the tongue can be a sign of oral thrush or bacterial overgrowth.

It is important for regular dental checkups for early detection and prevention of potential oral health issues that contribute to bad breath.

What is a Gastroscopy?

A Gastroscopy, also known as an Upper GI Endoscopy, is a procedure to examine the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).

It is done by having a gastroscope safely inserted through the mouth and maneuvered by your Doctor.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a camera attached to it. This gives your Doctor an internal view of your upper digestive system to detect abnormalities such as polyps, ulcers, inflammation, or cancerous growths along the mucosal lining.

If your Doctor discovers these issues during an examination, they can remove any polyps or tissues to be sampled for further investigation.

What are the Symptoms of Halitosis?

In addition to the obvious symptom of unpleasant breath, other signs may include:

However, it is essential to note that these symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause of halitosis. For example, a dry mouth can be caused by dehydration or certain medications, while a white coating on the tongue can be a sign of oral thrush or bacterial overgrowth.

It is important for regular dental checkups for early detection and prevention of potential oral health issues that contribute to bad breath.

When Is It Time To Visit a Doctor?

If bad breath persists despite maintaining good oral hygiene practices and avoiding potential causes, it may be time to visit a doctor. A medical professional can help identify the underlying cause of halitosis and provide appropriate treatment.

It is also crucial to seek medical attention if bad breath is accompanied by other symptoms, such as tooth pain, bleeding gums, or difficulty breathing.

Why See a Gastro Doctor?

Seeking consultation with a a doctor qualified to diagnose and treat bad breath ensures an accurate diagnosis, providing you with peace of mind. Additionally, it helps identify and rule out more severe conditions, such as ulcers and cancer, enhancing diagnostic clarity.

At Richmond Gastroenterology Centre, our team ensures a smooth and comfortable consultation and diagnosis process, making the diagnosis process less daunting than you may think.

What happens during your procedure

Usually, a Gastroscopy is done while you are asleep due to the sedatives that will be administered to you. An anesthetic will also be sprayed into your throat to numb your swallowing sensation.

You will be placed on your side and given to wear a mouth guard to prevent yourself from biting on the scope. With the necessary preparations in place, your Doctor will proceed with the gastroscopy examination.

The whole procedure should take about 10 to 15 minutes and you should be discharged within the same day. You will be advised not to drive or operate machinery for the day due to the drowsiness you may feel from the sedatives.

How Can Blood In Stools Be Treated?

Addressing The Root Cause of Your Bad Breath

Halitosis is a common issue that can have various causes. If you are experiencing persistent bad breath, it is essential to identify and address the underlying cause properly.

Treatment may involve good oral hygiene practices, lifestyle changes, medical intervention, or even specialised procedures.

Poor Oral Hygiene

For example, if poor oral hygiene is the culprit, improving brushing and flossing habits can help eliminate bad breath.

Dry Mouth

In cases where dry mouth causes halitosis, drinking more water or using saliva substitutes may be recommended.

Dental Issues

Other potential treatments for halitosis include professional cleanings by a dentist or periodontist, use of antibacterial mouthwashes or special toothpaste, and addressing any underlying dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease.

Treatments Based on Underlying Health Condition

In these selected cases of example where halitosis is a symptom of an underlying health condition, treatment for the specific medical issue may also help improve bad breath.

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Acid reflux can cause bad breath due to stomach acid travelling back up into the oesophagus and mouth. Treatment for GERD may involve changes in diet, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.

Tonsil Stones

Acid reflux can cause bad breath due to stomach acid travelling back up into the oesophagus and mouth. Treatment for GERD may involve changes in diet, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.

Infections

Infections in the respiratory or sinus tract can also cause halitosis. In these cases, treatment with antibiotics may be necessary to eliminate the underlying infection and improve bad breath.

Dental caries /Gingivitis

Severe dental caries can lead to bad breath due to accumulation of bacteria and food residue in the dental cavities. Maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check up will minimise bad breath.

How To Relieve Halitosis

While addressing the underlying cause of halitosis is essential, there are also some ways to relieve bad breath in the short term. These include:

Remember that these methods may only provide temporary relief, and should not replace proper dental care or address the underlying cause of halitosis.

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About Dr. John Hsiang

MBChB (NZ), FRACP (Australasia), MD (Doctorate), FRCP (Edinburgh), FAMS (Gastro)

Dr. John Hsiang is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience in public and private practice.

Dr. John’s special clinical interests are in gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach conditions, fatty liver, and gastrointestinal cancer screening

Dr. John has spent more than five years in the Singhealth cluster serving in the Gastroenterology Department at Changi General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital.

Clinical interests:

Indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, helicobacter pylori infection, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease, management of abnormal liver tests.

Dedicated Insurance Support

We understand that navigating the financial aspect of healthcare can be overwhelming. We welcome all patients with or without insurance and can assist with claims regardless of your personal or corporate insurance plan.

Here at Richmond Gastroenterology Centre, we strive to ensure the most efficient claims process for our patients. To that end, our team works diligently with their insurers to obtain Letters of Guarantee and pre-authorization certificates prior to any procedures.

Make an appointment to consult our Doctor.

We understand your anxieties and we are here to support you throughout your health journey. If you have questions or would like to seek a 2nd opinion, send us your message via the form below.

To get an immediate response, you may also call us at: 6517 9958

Dr. John Hsiang is an Accredited Specialist Across All Private Hospitals in Singapore.