A persistent, unpleasant odour in exhaled breath, usually not serious, commonly called bad breath. Bad breath is a common problem that can cause significant psychological distress. There are a number of potential causes and treatments available. Bad breath happens.
If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50% of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives. Anyone can suffer from bad breath. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis. Halitosis is the third most common reason that people seek dental care, after tooth decay and gum disease.
Simple home remedies and lifestyle changes, such as improved dental hygiene and quitting smoking, can often remove the issue. If bad breath persists, however, it is advisable to visit a doctor to check for underlying causes. Symptoms The specific odor of breath can vary depending on the cause of the problem. It is best to ask a close friend or relative to gauge your mouth odor, as it can be difficult to assess it yourself.
If no one is available, one way of checking the odor is to lick your wrist, leave it to dry, and then smell it. A bad smell on this area of the wrist is likely to suggest that you have halitosis. Some individuals are concerned about their breath even though they may have little or no mouth odor.
This condition is called halitophobia and can lead to obsessive mouth-cleansing behavior. Causes The most common cause of halitosis is bad oral hygiene. If particles of food are left in the mouth, their breakdown by bacteria produces sulfur compounds. Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce mouth odor.
The best treatment for bad breath is regular brushing, flossing, and hydration. Bad breath can have causes that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples include poor dental hygiene, dehydration or recently eating certain foods like onions or garlic. Potential causes of bad breath include: Tobacco: Tobacco products cause their own types of mouth odor.
Additionally, they increase the chances of gum disease which can also cause bad breath. Food: The breakdown of food particles stuck in the teeth can cause odors. Some foods such as onions and garlic can also cause bad breath. After they are digested, their breakdown products are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath. Dry mouth: Saliva naturally cleans the mouth.
If the mouth is naturally dry or dry due to a specific disease, such as xerostomia, odors can build up. Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing ensure the removal of small particles of food that can build up and slowly break down, producing odor. A film of bacteria called plaque builds up if brushing is not regular.
This plaque can irritate the gums and cause inflammation between the teeth and gums called periodontitis. Dentures that are not cleaned regularly or properly can also harbor bacteria that cause halitosis. Crash diets: Fasting and low-carbohydrate eating programs can produce halitosis.
This is due to the breakdown of fats producing chemicals called ketones. These ketones have a strong aroma. Drugs: Certain medications can reduce saliva and, therefore, increase odors. Other drugs can produce odors as they breakdown and release chemicals in the breath. Examples include nitrates used to treat angina, some chemotherapy chemicals, and some tranquilizers, such as phenothiazines. Individuals who take vitamin supplements in large doses can also be prone to bad breath.
Mouth, nose, and throat conditions: Sometimes, small, bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat and produce odor. Also, infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can cause halitosis. Foreign body: Bad breath can be caused if they have a foreign body lodged in their nasal cavity, especially in children.
Diseases: Some cancers, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases can cause halitosis, due to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause bad breath due to the regular reflux of stomach acids. Self Treatment Brushing teeth and tongue after eating, flossing at least once a day and replacing toothbrushes regularly may improve bad breath. Avoiding foods known to cause bad breath, such as onions and garlic, may also help.
The best method to reduce halitosis is good oral hygiene. This ensures that cavities are avoided and reduces the likelihood of gum disease. It is also recommended that individuals visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning twice a year.
The dentist may recommend a toothpaste that includes an antibacterial agent or an antibacterial mouthwash. Alternatively, if gum disease is present, professional cleaning may be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth.
Brush and Floss Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath. Mouthwash Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however.
The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend. Clean Your Dentures If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning. Keep That Saliva Flowing To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples.
You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva. Quit Smoking Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life. Visit Your Dentist Regularly If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist.
Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.
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