How do you know if you are suffering from halitosis or bad breath? Well, you might not notice it yourself, but if people take a step back whenever you speak, then it’s a good sign your breath smells.
Causes Of Bad Breath
Over 90% of bad breath originates from the mouth and very rarely from the stomach. There are millions of bacteria in the mouth that have the potential to decompose microscopic food particles.
These bacteria and food debris, also known as plaque, can emit odorous gases when bacteria digest food in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic metabolism). The more plaque, the greater the anaerobic bacterial activity and the more offensive gases produced.
Dental caries and gum disease cause accumulation and stagnation of food in the cavities, gum pockets and spaces between teeth, leading to more chronic bad breath. Throat infections and mouth sores can also cause bad breath.
There are some causes of bad breath not related to oral hygiene. They include:
- Consumption of strongly flavored foods like garlic and onions.
- Dry mouth (insufficient saliva secretion). This can be a side effect of cancer treatment.
- Respiratory diseases (sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia), digestive problems (gastritis, reflux, bowel obstruction), chronic kidney failure, diabetes and nose cancer.
Ways To Ensure Fresh Breath
- Keep your mouth moist, and drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
- Eat regularly, and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid snacking on sugar based products as sugar greatly increases oral bacterial growth, resulting in the production of greater volumes of odorous gas.
- Ensure a balanced diet.
- Chew sugar free gum if your mouth feels dry.
- Do not smoke. Smoking also reduces salivary flow, increases adhesion of bacteria to the tongue and teeth, and can causes gum disease. All these can cause bad breath.
- Brush teeth daily and effectively to remove as much plaque as possible. Floss, to ensure all food debris is removed.
- Brush your tongue with a toothbrush to prevent plaque sticking to it.
- Keep dentures clean by thoroughly cleaning them every night and soaking it in a glass of water overnight.
- Use a mouthwash. The best time is just before sleeping.
- Use a breath freshener, if required.
- Visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth professionally cleaned.
Bad Breath Treatment
Most cases of bad breath can be treated. Basic treatment like scaling and filling of cavities reduces mouth odor. Overcoming bad breath also requires understanding its causes, and taking effective preventive measures.