Tips to Cure Bad Breath
BAD BREATH OR ALSO KNOWN AS HALITOSIS
HALITOSIS, AKA BAD BREATH, is a symptom in which a noticeably unpleasant breath odour is present. It can result in anxiety among those affected. It is also associated with depression and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
WHY DO I HAVE BAD BREATH?
It can be divided in two:
1). Intraoral halitosis: (90% of cases): It comes from the oral cavity itself. In 41% of cases it is due to biofilm accumulation (bacterial plaque) in the tongue. But it also can be caused by periodontal problems, smokers, tooth decay, etc.
2). Extra oral halitosis: (10% of cases): Its origin is outside of the oral cavity. It is mainly caused by systemic disorders; respiratory tract problems, digestive system, or kidney and liver disease.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF BAD BREATH?
- Poor oral hygiene: Presence of biofilm causes bacterial growth. When bacterial plaque is not properly removed from the teeth, the gums or between the teeth, it continues to grow and may lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
- Morning breath: During sleep salivary flow decreases, and this facilitates the uncontrolled growth of bacteria that produce bad smelling gases.
- Age: It is likely that the elderly suffer changes in their salivary glands and these changes affect the quality and quantity of saliva. Also, elderly, disabled people and children, can find dental hygiene difficult sometimes.
- Dental appliances: prostheses and braces can cause accumulation of food remains.
- Medications: there are some drugs that cause xerostomia (dry mouth) like antihistamines, vitamin supplements, antidepressants, anticholinergics, calcium blockers, cardiac and blood pressure medications. Saliva is needed to cleanse the oral cavity and reducing bad breath.
- Smokers are more prone to bad breath because of the characteristic smell of tobacco. Additionally, tobacco increases the chances of periodontal disease.
- Fasting periods
- Diet: After intake of some foods (onion, garlic, curry, coffee, etc.) and alcohol consumption.
- Tonsil stones
IS BAD BREATH A SIGN OF A BIGGER HEALTH PROBLEM?
- Periodontal disease and tooth decay.
- Ulcerative and infectious causes; abscesses teeth, stomatitis, etc.
- Throat and lung infections
- Radiation and chemotherapy necrosis in patients with neoplasia.
- Uncontrolled diabetes and kidney disease.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE BAD BREATH?
In general, bad breath is difficult to diagnose since it is unlikely that you will detect your own bad breath. However, a professional in the dental area can help you diagnose it.
In exploration of a patient suffering from bad breath, different fundamental aspects are involved:
- Systemic health
- Oral situation
- Oral hygiene habits
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE BAD BREATH?
- Good oral hygiene habits
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss between each tooth at least once a day.
- Use mouthwash three times a day after each meal, ingredients of antimicrobial agents vary but can include; chlorhexidine 0.05%, chlorine dioxide, and zinc chloride.
- Tongue scrapers: As an aid to remove food remains in the back of the tongue.
- If you have any dental appliances like prostheses or braces, it is necessary to follow your dental professional instructions for cleaning these devices.
- Changing toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.
- Avoid foods and beverages that cause bad breath
- Drink more water
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid tobacco of any kind
WHEN TO VISIT YOUR DENTIST?
Be sure to see the dental professional at least twice a year for regular checkups to have your teeth and appliances examined and cleaned. Your dentist can diagnose and treat bad breath.