Top of the list has got to be halitosis, which is the medical term for bad breath and is defined by Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th Edition 2009 as "offensive breath resulting from poor hygiene; dental or oral infections; ingestion of certain foods such as garlic or alcohol; use of tobacco; or some systemic diseases, such as the odour of acetone in diabetes or ammonia in liver disease."
There's nothing quite as disappointing as meeting a person for the first time, especially when the person is one that you've looked forward to meeting, only to find that he/she has bad breath, but is blissfully unaware of it too. In some cases, you can see that the person is aware of their bad breath problem. They will look away when they address you in a bid to direct their breath from your direction. Sometimes they hold their hand over their mouth when they speak and it is clear that their self-confidence has taken a knock.
A friend of mine once had a bad breath problem. He didn't seem to be aware of the problem, though he would frequently complain of toothaches. I thought I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't tell him about his bad breath. And although it wasn't easy, I told him anyway and offered advice about mouth cleaning techniques, which perhaps he should adopt. None of these worked, so together we decided to visit the dentist, where it was discovered that he had a huge dental abscess from an infection. He lost a couple of teeth, but the infection was treated and the bad breath went away. Bad breath is treatable and should be regarded as such. Also, this scourge of humanity is not as much of a problem as many of us fear. Researchers in the field find that at any one time only about 1% of the population has it and so many more people worry about bad breath than are actually afflicted by it.
The feet have more sweat glands than any other part of the body. Shoes and socks can prevent the sweat from your feet from evaporating or being absorbed, which attracts bacteria. The bacteria cause sweat to smell bad, leading to bromodosis (smelly feet). People with hyperhidrosis (a condition where the skin sweats excessively) are particularly prone to bromodosis. Synthetic footwear and poor hygiene can make the problem worse. Other factors too such as certain medicines and hormone changes can increase the amount of sweat the body produces.
The condition of smelly feet can be easily treated and/or controlled. Good foot hygiene is essential. Wash feet daily using mild soap or anti-fungal soap and a scrubbing brush and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. Change socks at least once a day. If you sweat a lot, change your shoes too. Wear thick, soft socks made of natural fibres or sports socks specifically designed to absorb moisture. Avoid synthetic materials. Wear shoes made of leather, canvas or mesh and not synthetic material. Keep toenails short and clean to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
Third on the list is body odour, commonly referred to as BO and known medically as bromhidrosis, osmidrosis, or ozochrotia. Bromhidrosis is defined in Medilexicon's medical dictionary as "fetid or foul-smelling perspiration...."
Body odour is a perceived unpleasant smell our bodies can give off when bacteria that live on the skin break down sweat into acids. Some say it is the smell of the bacteria growing on the body, but it really is the result of bacteria breaking down protein into certain acids. Body odour becomes evident if measures are not taken when a human reaches puberty, 14 - 16 years of age in females and 15 - 17 years of age in males. People who are obese, those who regularly eat spicy foods, as well as individuals with certain medical conditions such as diabetes are more susceptible to having body odour.
Sweat itself is virtually odourless to humans; it is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat and what the bacteria do (break sweat down into acids) that eventually causes the unpleasant smell. The smell is perceived as unpleasant, many believe, because most of us have been brought up to dislike it. Body odour is most likely to occur in our feet, groin, armpits, genitals, pubic hair and other hair, belly button, anus, behind the ears and to some lesser extent, on the rest of the skin.
Body odour can be used, especially by dogs and other animals, to identify people. It can even have a nice and specific smell to the individual and to this I will testify personally. It is important that puberty has been mentioned specifically, because it was at that stage in my life that I was ushered into the land of sexual pleasure by someone who was himself in puberty. He exuded a sweet, strong smell, which was unique to him and which others might find unpleasant. But for me it was heady and exciting and sexually stimulating. I identified him with it and for me that smell heightened the intensity of the sexual pleasure. Yikes! Did I really admit that? :) Anyway, I suppose it is for this reason that body odour has made it only to third position on my list..
Body odour can be easily controlled by good personal hygiene; keeping the armpits dry and clean. Hair under the armpits is known to slow the evaporation of sweat, so shaving the armpits regularly has been known to keep body odour under control in that area. I also recently learned that Botulinum toxin, more popularly known as Botox, which is the most poisonous biological substance known, is sometimes used as a treatment for individuals who sweat excessively under the armpits. The toxin blocks the signals from the brain to the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating in the targeted area and can be effective for from two to up to eight months..