HALITOSIS AND PERIODONTITIS

IMI Clinic

Halitosis (from the Latino halitus, breath, and Greek, osis, abnormal) indicates an unpleasant smell in the air emitted when a person speaks or breathes. A great number of people suffer from this condition which can impact on their social life and psychological thinking.

The association between halitosis and periodontitis is now well-known: an unpleasant odour on the breath in fact represents one of the symptoms of periodontal disease. The relationship was made clear some time ago, if we think that as early as 400 BC ancient Greeks had understood that “by making the gums healthy the bad odour disappeared”.
However, the very first studies of this condition only date back to 1934, when Fair and Wells perfected an instrument capable of measuring the intensity of smells, which would later be used to analyse the breath. In the seventies, more comprehensive studies were conducted on the aetiology, clinical aspects and diagnosis of halitosis with the contribution of Joe Tonezetich (University of British Columbia of Vancouver) and Mel Rosenberg (University of Tel Aviv).

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The link between halitosis and periodontitis

The breathing out of volatile and non-volatile molecules that pollute the breath can depend on genetics, diet, stress, and various diseases.

Persistent bad breath is linked to intra-oral causes often deriving from widespread tooth decay and periodontitis. The final stage of untreated periodontitis is tooth loss. This means halitosis is a symptom that should not be dismissed and which must instead signify a problem with health of our teeth.

The unpleasant odour therefore depends on the metabolism of anaerobic bacteria present in the periodontal pockets and decayed lesions. Degrading food residues and the absence of oxygen causes bad breath; therefore halitosis can often be one of the first symptoms of periodontitis, together with inflamed and bleeding gums.

PERIOBLAST™ is often sufficient for rapidly overcoming the problem of the type of halitosis that is not linked to systemic diseases and above all, it disinfects the periodontal pockets which helps to save teeth.

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