McCall Dental | Halitosis Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

It can be just a sign of occasional bad breath or worse, a chronic problem that needs urgent help.
Halitosis is often used as a synonym to bad breath. But there’s actually a difference between these terms. Let’s understand what halitosis is, and what causes halitosis and what treatments are there to address this concern and the health problems associated with it.

What is halitosis?

Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, is something that good brushing and flossing, or mouthwash rinsing can’t quickly resolve. Unlike “morning breath” or a strong odour that stays after eating foods which are spicy or contain garlic, halitosis remains longer and can be a sign of something more serious about your health.


The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Bad breath usually starts in the mouth, but there are many possible causes (some of which are quite serious) such as:

  • Food particles: Strong foods such as garlic or onions can leave particles behind the mouth and on the tongue, resulting in an unpleasant odour. Luckily, it’s easily treated and not a chronic cause of halitosis.
  • Poor oral hygiene: If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles can remain in your mouth which produce bad breath odour.
  • Dental issues: Cavities and gum disease can give bad breath bacteria extra places to hide in your mouth that are difficult to reach when cleaning your teeth.
  • Smoking and tobacco: Tobacco has its own type of bad breath. Besides making your breath smell, smoking causes staining and loss of taste and irritates gums.
  • Other chronic conditions like respiratory infections or acid reflux: While halitosis is most often linked to something happening in the mouth, it may also be a sign of gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease.

Don’t wait for a dental emergency to happen before you talk to your dental team. See your dental team regularly or as often as they recommend.
Approximately 48% of Canadians who haven’t seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease.
Again, your dental team will be able to check and treat the problem during regular check-ups. Once the problems are found earlier, the easier they are to treat.

Risk Factors

Bad breath is not just about what you eat or drink. Most people with persistent halitosis, or chronic bad breath, have a dental condition that accounts for the problem.
Here are some risk factors that chronic bad breath can cause to your health:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Oral cavity
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety

Bad breath can put you and those around you in an uncomfortable situation. Unless you know how to get rid of it. Here are some ways to prevent bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily
  • Gently clean your tongue before bedtime
  • Prevent hunger breath by eating regularly and avoid skipping meals
  • Eat more fibrous foods such as raw carrots or celery to stimulate saliva flow
  • Decrease alcohol, soda and coffee intake
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Rinse and swish with an effective mouthwash

The easiest and most effective treatment for bad breath is regular brushing, flossing, and hydration.
If you are looking for a dentist in Northeast Calgary that treats halitosis, McCall Dental can help. Contact our office today and one of our friendly team members will be glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding halitosis and suggest some treatment options.

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What Exactly Is Fluoride?

Fluoride helps in keeping teeth healthy. Fluoride is the most popular ingredient in almost all existing toothpaste brands because it does a great job at fighting tooth decay and in helping repair teeth.

Delivery Methods

Fluoride is divided into two delivery methods–systemic fluorides and topical fluorides. Systemic fluorides come naturally from water, soil, and many foods; they circulate through the bloodstream and are then incorporated into developing teeth. Meanwhile, topical fluorides are the ones you apply and place directly on the teeth to fight off tooth decay and keep the enamel strong.

Different Kinds of Topical Fluorides

Topical fluorides can be applied either professionally or through self-application. Professional topical fluorides are the ones applied by dental professionals. They usually involve the use of high fluoride concentration products ranging from 5000-19000 ppm which is equivalent to 5-9 mg F/ml. On the other hand, self-applied topical fluorides are low fluoride concentration products ranging from 200-1000 ppm or 0.2-1 mg F/ml. Some examples are gels, mouthwash, and of course, toothpaste.

Fluoride For Children

Children exposed to fluoride will need adult supervision. When used appropriately, it helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. Once children are able to spit out, they can already start using fluoridated toothpaste. Using a small smear of toothpaste will prevent them from swallowing too much of it. At our office, we have a number of options for topical fluoride. However, if there are still concerns about ingesting fluoride or if your child is very young, there are other options. Other products based on calcium and phosphate may be great alternatives, and these products are safe to use for pregnant or nursing women as well as children under 6 years old.

We respect your decisions regarding fluoride. We believe that the best way for you to make an informed decision is having an open and honest discussion about the potential risks, benefits and alternative options. Please give us a call or come in for a visit, and we can answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding fluoride.

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