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Bad Breath Treatment

In medical terms, “bad breath” is also termed as “Halitosis” and is one of the most common complaints made in a dental office and it is considered to be one of the most embarrassing diseases ever! While some are temporary odors (due to the intake of foods like onion, garlic, alcohol, tobacco, milk, meat, etc.), if the problem is persistent for a long time, i.e. persistent bad breath, that’s a matter of big concern.

Bad Breath: Symptoms and Causes

You are your own doctor when it comes to bad breath! Usually people tend to avoid smelling mouths. So if you see the person talking to you is trying to avoid you, or putting handkerchief over face or else showing some other distracting behavior, then it’s high time to check your mouth odor.

The causative agents for such bad breath are:

  • Poor oral hygiene like not removing tongue coating and not cleaning teeth properly
  • Alcohol consumption tobacco abuse
  • Unhealthy food habits which include eating loads of sugar products like sweets, chocolates etc.
  • Faulty alignments, crowns and gaps within teeth
  • Gastrointestinal/Stomach disorders cause bad smell coming from the mouth. Bowels if not emptied clearly cause foul smelling breath
  • Certain medication like multivitamins
  • Higher level of volatile sulfur compounds (esp. from tobacco use and tongue coatings) in the mouth is also a main factor for foul smell
  • Periodontal disease like bleeding and weak gums
  • Food lodgment in decayed tooth and in gaps between teeth etc.

Research claims that oral malodor can be linked to other complications in the body like respiratory, kidney or liver related disease
Self-diagnosis is the most convenient diagnostic method in this disease. Due to shame or humiliation, people try to avoid talking with other people and do not confess about the problem. Gradually situation becomes so acute that one finds it difficult to tolerate own breath also. If this is not possible then go for a confidant (a trusted family member or friend), get their opinion and start treatment accordingly.

Apart from these, there are certain medical instruments which can detect bad odors of mouth. Some of the common instruments are:

  • Halimeter- It is a portable sulfur monitor which detects the level of sulfur emissions from mouth
  • Gas chromatography- It digitally measures the levels of three gases from mouth and they are hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan and dimethly disulfide
  • Beta-Galactosidase test- It detects the presence of halitosis related bacteria and other compounds in the saliva

Bad Breath: Prevention and Treatment

Prevention is better than cure! Some basic yet important precautionary measures should be taken to avoid Bad Breath:
  • Proper mouth cleaning- Use of good toothpaste twice a day for cleaning mouth won’t allow bacteria to accumulate. And it is a notable point to be remembered that along with brushing teeth, what matters more for oral hygiene is cleaning the tongue, which is mostly neglected by people. Tongue is the most vulnerable area for bacterial growth and it should be thoroughly cleaned to avoid the accumulation of bacterial films.
  • Do not keep the mouth dry- Usually it is observed that after a long period of keeping quiet, foul smell comes from mouth. This occurs due to dryness of the mouth and absence of saliva which makes mouth a farmland for bacteria. It is a healthy habit to keep the mouth salivated. So keep your mouth engaged always by chewing a gum or cloves or cinnamon sticks or any other spices that suit your taste buds.
  • Mouth rinsing- Remember to rinse the mouth and throat region after dinner and before retiring to the bed. It can be done with lukewarm water or a bit saline water, commercial mouthrinses available in the market or even with normal water. The intention is to remove excess food material, if present, in the mouth and esophageal region.
  • Mouthwashes- These are not a permanent cure technique; rather these should be used occasionally only. Keep a bottle of mouthwash within your reach and if you smell foul then wash your mouth. This can only help in giving instant results for short durations.

Oral Malodor is a disease, more correctly an embarrassing one. So if you find any friend, relative or any other close one of yours with a foul smelling mouth, instead of avoiding the talks give some tips regarding the cure of disease. The person afflicted with this disease comes to know about it a bit later, so it’s the duty of people around that person to make him aware of this condition.

1) What is the medical term for ‘bad breath’?

The most commonly used medical term for bad breath is Halitosis. Some of the other terms used to describe bad breath are oral malodour and Fetor Oris. There are many factors that contribute towards foul odour emanating from the mouth and the most common among them being improper dental care regime, smoking, and dryness of mouth, medication or underlying illness.

 

2) How do I check my breath?

Though it may not be easy to know yourself if you have bad breath or not, you can follow the below given process to keep a tab on the smell of your breath.

  1. Ask someone you trust to help you evaluate the condition and take corrective measures to curb the same.
  2. Try the sniff test by licking your wrist, let it dry for 10 seconds before smelling it
  3. After flossing, smell the tape to check for the odour
  4. Scrape the back of your tongue with a tongue cleaner and smell it to check for odour levels

 

3) Is bad breath a common problem?

Yes bad breath is a common problem that affects almost 1/3rd of the population. Owing to a poor oral health hygiene and few other bad eating habits, the problem of foul odour surfaces among majority of people. Sadly, people suffering from the problem of bad breath are not even aware of it and can eventually lead to affecting their level of confidence and self-esteem.  

 

4) What are the most common causes of bad breath?

From dryness of the mouth to consumption of tobacco, there are many reasons that can cause your breath to smell bad. But it all starts with a poor dental hygiene. Our mouth is a host to thousands of bacteria and if they are not eliminated from the mouth on a regular basis, they become a reason for a lot of dental and dental problems. Therefore, a regular brushing and flossing routine is always recommended. Food particles trapped in the spaces between teeth and gums, medication, hormonal imbalance and infection in the mouth are some of the other commonly known factors that contribute towards bad breath.

 

5) Does stomach disorder lead to bad breath?

Yes stomach disorder can significantly meddle up with your breath and cause it to smell foul. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, as it is popularly known, is one of the causes of bad breath emanating from your mouth. This is a condition is caused by acid coming back up to the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the chest and throat area. Apart from giving you bad breath, the acid also causes problems like tooth erosion. Besides this, ulcers in the stomach and mouth also contribute towards breath malodour.  

 

6) How does tongue cleaning prevent bad breath?

Most of the bacteria that are responsible for giving you bad breath are found on the tongue. The skin on the tongue is relatively dry compared to the rest of the mouth and the cracks and fissures found on it provide the perfect trap for food particles and dead skin cells. These things become a medium for the growth of germ and smell causing bacteria. Rightly so, cleaning the microbes found on the tongue on a regular basis can help not only keep your mouth clean but also make it smell mint fresh.

 

7) Best home remedy for bad breath

Never keep your mouth dry as dry mouth is a haven for breath causing bacteria. Post every meal, swish your mouth with water. Doing this will temporarily dislodge the bacteria accumulated inside the mouth and make your mouth smell better. Repeat the process post every meal. Apart from this, munching on fresh parsley or mint leaves, eating a small spoon of fennel seeds, and popping a clove from time to time; will also help keep malodour of mouth at bay. Maintaining a proper dental care routine of brushing and flossing is another way of preventing your mouth from smelling bad.

 

8) Should you visit a dentist for bad breath?

Bad breath is a problem that effect a lot of people and can really bring down their confidence level. If despite trying simple home remedies and chewing on mouth fresheners as the last resort your breath continues to smell bad, maybe it’s time to pay a visit to your dentist.  He will help you identify the real problem for the odour and know if it is because of some underlying problem that needs immediate attention. A dentist is better equipped to recommend an effective toothpaste and mouth wash that can help get rid of the problem in a more effective and efficient manner. Bad breath may also be due to medical conditions that will best be diagnosed by the dentist

Best Toothpaste for Bad Breath

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