Usually the dentist is the last place you think about going, until you are facing pain strong enough to conquer the fear in search of a solution. Common reasons we seek a professional are cavities, broken or missing teeth, tooth pain, or cosmetic procedures. None of these things are solved painlessly, or without causing pain in the first place. What if I told you your dentist has an instrument that is painless requires zero Novocain and you would actually enjoy.
A condition you might not consider seeking professional for is bad breath. We have all had it, and we all have know someone whose got it so bad you dread when they get within 3 feet of you. There are variety obvious causes of bad breath such as smoking, drinking alcohol, certain foods, and chronic dry mouth. Garlic and onions are sure to give you a quick case of short term halitosis, but what if you practice good oral hygiene and are still suffering? Mints, gum, and mouthwashes can offer a temporary solution, if you think your situation is more serious, dental technology has come to the rescue.
The magical painless instrument is called a Halimeter. Halimeters are designed for the diagnosis of chronic cases of oral malodor. Bad breath is more scientific than one might think. The compound that causes stinky breath is a combination of hydrogen sulfide (responsible for the stench in landfills, pig farms, and fertilizer) along with other gases. Collectively referred to as volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), these compounds are located mostly on the back of the tongue, throat or tonsils.
The Halimeter was invented in the early 1990’s and approximately 3000 professionals in the field of dentistry have this tool available for their patients. The meter uses a gas sensor to detect parts-per-billion (ppb) quantities of bad breath causing gases. Anything that registers at or above 100 ppb will be picked up by the human nose as odor. Onions will register around 168 ppb where garlic is off the charts in the thousands. If your dentist has this instrument they can quickly diagnosis and treat the cause of the odor. In the majority of cases, the cause can be pinpointed and solved without the need for major dental work.
There is always a chance that the underlying cause of your stinky breath is a more serious problem such as tooth decay, so it’s always a good rule of thumb to see a dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and checkups. No one wants a case of halitosis to turn into a full set of dentures.