Bad Breath- Save yourself that embarrassment!!!

Imagine talking to someone important and suddenly you realize you have bad breath, not only is it  embarrassing to you imagine the plight of the person in front. Bad breath is a very common oral health problem, one that has connections to mouth, even stomach and intestines and the digestive tract , because all of these can give you bad breath! In medical terms it is called Halitosis and there is specific remedy for it other than just brushing and mouthwash!

Bad breath is common first thing in the morning (morning breath) or whenever you wake after a sleep, and doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with you. However, in some people bad breath stays with them throughout the day and that is when it is a problem.

How can you tell if you have bad breath?

It can be hard to know if you have bad breath problem or halitosis, because it’s difficult to judge whether your own breath smells normal or not. You can try breathing out through your mouth into your cupped hands and immediately breathing in through your nose, or licking the outside of your hand or wrist, waiting a few seconds, then smelling where you licked. But mostly it is others who will tell you that your mouth smells and that when they speak ; they cannot stand that odor.

If you are concerned about your breath, it may be best to ask your dentist or doctor to assess you for halitosis. Although it may feel awkward asking that question, but getting a dentist to assess you for bad breath is absolutely OK and in fact you must get a professional opinion about your bad breath because sometimes it could be a symptom of some other disease that needs attention. The next question in mind is what exactly causes one to have bad breath and why do some of us suffer from it?

What causes bad breath?

There are quite a few different causes of bad breath, ranging from simple oral hygiene issues, to health conditions that need medical or dental attention. Some causes are temporary while some need constant monitoring!The usual culprits are: –

  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • eating certain foods – such as those high in garlic, onion or spices
  • sleeping – saliva helps keep your mouth clean and when you sleep you produce less saliva, so you can get bad breath after sleeping (especially if you breathe through your mouth – mouth breathing – rather than your nose).
  • trapped food – when tiny bits of food are trapped in the teeth, gums and tongue, they are broken down by bacteria that produce foul-smelling chemicals, giving out a really foul smell.
  • gum disease (periodontal disease); caused when a sticky film of bacteria (plaque) builds up between your teeth and gums.
  • mouth infections – unhealed wounds, tooth cavities (caries), abscesses, and other sores in the mouth like ulcers
  • dry mouth syndrome – if your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, this can cause a dryness of the mouth leading to a bad smell and subsequent bad breath.
  • being hungry or fasting can lead to bad breath too,
  • ongoing infections in the nose or throat
  • ongoing tonsillitis or sinusitis
  • infections of the lungs and airways
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or acidity in simple words
  • severe kidney disease causing uraemia
  • medications – some medicines when they break down in the body release chemicals that cause your breath to smell;

Most people’s mouths contain large numbers of bacteria, especially in dental plaque, the substance that builds up on, and between, teeth that are not cleaned regularly. The crevices in the surface of the tongue can also contain odour-causing bacteria and hence tongue cleaning is important too!

There are certain things that aggravate bad breath , which are:-

  • not cleaning your teeth daily – this includes flossing as well as brushing
  • wearing dentures that don’t fit properly or aren’t cleaned regularly
  • allowing your mouth to get dry – this can happen if you don’t drink enough water, or you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose
  • consuming more of garlic, onions and spices
  • Excessive dieting too causes bad breath due to changes in metabolism.

Treatment

  1. Treatment for bad breath depends on the cause. In some cases, improving daily oral hygiene habits like daily brushing and flossing more vigourously, for example – is all that needs to be done. However, if the problem does not go even with that and there is some issue with your teeth or gums, you may need to see a dentist.
  2. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned and removing plaque can solve bad breath issues. Dentists can provide any necessary dental treatment, such as a filling if there is tooth decay where food gets caught and causes bad breath. They can also advise you on things you can do yourself at home, like use toothpastes or mouthwashes designed to kill bacteria in the mouth.
  3. If you have had your mouth checked by a dentist and find you still have persistent bad breath, see your doctor. Depending on the suspected cause, they may refer you to a specialist who can further investigate the issue.

How to prevent bad breath?

There are some simple things you can do to help prevent bad breath and be free from this embarrassment.

  • Brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly at least twice a day, using good quality toothbrush and a fluoride-containing toothpaste, paying particular attention to the areas at the back of your mouth and gums. This prevents plaque building up and removes the tiny food particles that would otherwise collect in the mouth and start to smell.
  • Clean between your teeth at least once a day, using dental floss or a small interdental brush (available from chemists and supermarkets). This helps remove plaque from places where your toothbrush can’t reach. You can also use a tongue scraper to clean the back of the tongue.
  • If you wear dentures or other dental appliances, make sure you clean these thoroughly every day.
  • Avoid eating too many sugary foods and drinks, which encourage bacterial growth in the mouth, and are also a cause of tooth erosion.
  • Stop your mouth from getting too dry by drinking plenty of water and chewing healthy foods like carrots and apples that encourage your saliva to flow.
  • See a dentist regularly to help prevent problems with your teeth and gums.
  • If you are a smoker, consider quitting. Not only does it make your breath smell bad, it also stains your teeth and makes you more likely to get gum disease.

Too much use of mouthwashes can stain your teeth and fillings and provide only temporary relief, so the best option is to keep the mouth clean and visit a good dentist like the one at Partha Dental to check out the reason and exact treatment for ending this embarrassing problem of bad breath.

Remember it is curable easily and will enhance your self-confidence while speaking to others. Do consult a dentist if you suffer from halitosis or bad breath.