Halitosis, colloquially called bad breath, is a symptom in which a noticeably unpleasant odor is present on the exhaled breath.
Of those who have genuine halitosis, often the odor is caused by bacteria present below the gumline and on the back of the tongue.
The first step to solving a problem is a good knowledge of its cause so let’s see those.
A.) Food: Food is a primary source of bad odors that come from the mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods, exotic spices (such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time this is short term. Other foods may get stuck in the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath odor.
B.) Low carbohydrate diets may also cause “ketone breath.” These diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end-product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.
C.) Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad-breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
D.) Poor dental hygiene: When a person does not brush or floss regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Poor dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which causes an odor of its own. Plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal (gum) disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; if gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis.
E.) Health problems: Sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections, thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, other stomach problems, and some liver or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
F.) Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth, and when the body does not product enough saliva, bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorders (Sjögren’s syndrome), medications, or breathing through the mouth.
G.) Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
H.) Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor.
I.) Medications: Many medications, including antihistamines and diuretics, can cause dry mouth (see above), which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include insulin shots, triamterene (Dyrenium), and paraldehyde.
J.) “Morning breath”: Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stops during sleep, which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
Other causes of bad breath: Objects stuck in the nose (usually in children), alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath.
You know what makes your breathe stink, now how do u get rid of all that unpleasantness?
1.) Oral Hygeine: Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control; that can be achieved using a tooth brush, tongue cleaner or tongue brush/scraper to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris, and mucus. An inverted teaspoon may also do the job. Scraping or otherwise damaging the tongue should be avoided, and scraping of the V-shaped row of taste buds found at the extreme back of the tongue should also be avoided. Brushing a small amount of antibacterial mouth rinse or tongue gel onto the tongue surface will further inhibit bacterial action.
2.) Eating a healthy breakfast rich in fiber helps clean the very back of the tongue.
3.) Chewing gum: Since dry-mouth can increase bacterial buildup and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, and thereby help to reduce bad breath. Chewing may help particularly when the mouth is dry, or when one cannot perform oral hygiene procedures after meals (especially those meals rich in protein). This aids in provision of saliva, which washes away oral bacteria, has antibacterial properties and promotes mechanical activity which helps cleanse the mouth. Some chewing gums contain special anti-odor ingredients. Chewing on fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, mastic gum, or fresh parsley are common folk remedies.
4.) Gargling right before bedtime with an effective mouthwash. Several types of commercial mouthwashes have been shown to reduce malodor for hours in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Mouthwashes may contain active ingredients that are inactivated by the soap present in most toothpastes. Thus it is recommended to refrain from using mouthwash directly after toothbrushing with paste.
5.) Avoid antiseptic mouthwashes, anti-bacterial rinses and sprays. Mints, mouth sprays, mouthwash and gum give you a quick and temporary mask of the odours created by the bacteria on the tongue. However, they do not cure bad breath because they do not remove the source. Anti-bacterial (antiseptic) sprays and mouthwashes destroy the good as well as the bad bacteria in your mouth. Without the good bacteria keeping symbiotic balance, you can become dependent on the use of these sprays to keep your mouth fresh-smelling. As you swallow these mouth-fresheners, they can do a lot of damage in your digestive tract, similar to antibiotics.
6.) YOUR DIET: A low sugar, low refined carbohydrate diet is perfect for healthy teeth.
7.) See a dentist regularly to ensure dentures or braces are properly fitted and cleaned.
8.) Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco.
9.) Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.
10.) If bad breath is due to a health problem such as a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux, etc., then the underlying medical issue needs to be treated.
11.) For patients who suffer from dry mouth (xerostomia), artificial saliva may be prescribed by a dentist.
A new approach for home treatment of bad breath is the use of oil-containing mouthwashes and two-phase (oil:water) mouthwashes. Essential oils have been found effective in reducing halitosis, and are being used in several commercial mouthwashes.