Is there a cure for halitosis? 2018-03-23T12:18:31+00:00


Top 13 most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).

Dr Jonas Nunes, recognised expert in halitosis and Director of the Breath Institute, answers the most frequently asked questions about halitosis (bad breath).


01. Is there a cure for halitosis?

I believe that the word “cure” in relation to halitosis is being misused. To develop this idea, I must first mention the 97% success rate of the clinical protocol that we use here at the Breath Institute, which is the highest to date and has been verified by academic institutions.

This means that out of every 100 patients who come to our clinic, at least 96 of them were completely halitosis-free bad after treatment. As for the remaining 4, some show partial improvement and others do no improve at all. The results obtained are very positive as these are patients who turn to the Breath Institute after having visited countless other health professionals, convinced that there was no solution to their problem, and after having tried almost everything (or rather, patients with optimal oral hygiene whose cause of halitosis was not apparent). The criteria used in the study for evaluating our treatment’s success rate requires triple confirmation to establish the elimination of halitosis: confirmation from relatives; confirmation from the assessors or “odour judges”; and confirmation from the specialist bad breath measurement devices we use (gas chromatography).

The word “cure” in relation to halitosis is being misused”.

Concerning our success rate (96.6%), a large portion of these cases can be considered cured (according to the meaning that I give to “cure”, in other words, that the patient no longer has any signs of bad breath or needs special care for an extensive period of time). For example, I use the word “cure” in very severe cases of halitosis that are due to chronic tonsil stones (also called tonsilloliths). After the surgical removal of the source of infection (the crypts in the tonsils), the patient no longer produces tonsil stones and, therefore, no longer has bad breath. Nevertheless, in other cases it would be lax to consider the patients “cured” (I prefer the term “treated”), even when there is remission of the bad breath. An example would be cases of halitosis caused by hyposalivation (commonly known as dry mouth), which I will now go on to discuss.

By implementing specific therapies over a period of time, an increase in salivary function can be achieved (for instance, regularly taking cholinergic drugs). However, that does not mean that some twenty years later, the patient will not need to repeat the treatment for a few more months (given that relapse, in this case the decrease of salivary fluid can sometimes occur many years after treatment). I consider the patient treated (insofar as they no longer show any symptoms of halitosis), but their case will not be “closed” (treatment could be required years later). This is what I believe the word “cure” is misused in these contexts.

A “treated” patient will not rely on odour-masking products (mouthwashes, mint-flavoured chewing gum etc.) as they only have a short-term effect. Such situations cannot be considered a clinical success (let alone “cured” or “treated”). In my view, the current commercial misuse of the term “cure” is unethical. In many cases, what is offered is not a cure, but rather a contract of lifelong dependence on mouthwashes and other odour-masking products (since the effect is short term and the individual needs to use these products several times a day).

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Know your Breath.

Did you know that you can suffer from bad breath without realising it? Many people suffer from halitosis (bad breath) on a regular basis, regardless of gender, age or social class.  Furthermore, halitosis can have a profound impact on self-esteem, and can even result in discrimination and social exclusion.

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