Can the odor be described as rotten, foul or unclean, musky, strong, pungent, rancid, rank? Dental professionals can strengthen their role as trusted gatekeepers of systemic and oral health by developing their sense of smell to diagnose breath malodor. It’s subjective nature is problematic. Sinusitis, allergies, smells in the operatory, diet and medications can all interfere with an accurate organoleptic test.
Appropriate treatment may be nothing more than recommending a mouthrinse and improved oral hygiene, but it could involve referral to a physician to prevent a serious condition from going undiagnosed. Nearly 90% of breath malodor arises from the oral cavity and is associated with poor oral hygiene, gingivitis, periodontitis, dental caries and tongue coatings, explains P. Mark Bartold, DDSc, PhD. At one end of the spectrum, it can be temporarily caused by garlic/onions or it can be associated with reflux, diabetes, or viral hepatitis B.
Can you smell the cause of bad breath?