Experts agree that a bacterial breakdown of proteins on the tongue is what usually causes bad breath, and that dry mouth, sinus problems, certain prescription medications, and even diabetes can amplify the issue. But one of the most unusual and challenging issues facing bad-breath specialists is more psychological than oral.
Research shows that up to 17% of people who believe they have bad breath and go so far as to seek treatment for it actually do not have bad breath. Where bad breath is medically called halitosis, this highly specific form of self-consciousness is called halitophobia. Astoundingly, there have been reports that some people have committed suicide over this in Japan.
Those who constantly and conjecturally worry that they have bad breath may not realize that they have a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. If a dentist is unable to confirm a halitosis diagnosis, those with signs of halitophobia many find more help from a psychologist or psychiatrist than from mints and mouthwashes.
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