Bad breath or halitosis is the presence of unpleasant odor in the breath and is a result of poor dental hygiene. It may be a sign of tooth decay, gum disease or any other health problem. At times, a bacterial infection in the nose or throat, an improper diet or stress can also lead to bad breath. It can also be made worse by the type of food you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
If you eat foods with strong odors such as onion or garlic brushing, flossing and even mouthwash would only be able to cover up the odor temporarily. The reason being, the food you eat is absorbed into the bloodstream, carried to your lungs and is then given off in your breath.
In addition, if dentures are not cleaned properly, odor causing bacteria and food particles in it can also cause bad breath. Smoking and chewing tobacco based product, poorly fit dental appliances, yeast infection of the mouth and dental caries (cavities) are some of the other dental causes of bad breadth.
Health Problems Associated With Bad Breath
The main reason of gum disease is the plaque build-up on the teeth and bad breath may be warning sign of it. If left untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
Apart from it, dry mouth (medically known as xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva, which helps to neutralize acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks is produced less. Dry mouth can be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems or continuous breathing through the mouth.
Many other diseases and illness apart from dry mouth may also cause bad breath and below are some to be aware of:-
- Respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, etc
- Chronic Sinus Infections
- Postnasal Drip
- Liver or Kidney problem
Bad breath can be prevented or reduced by following few simple steps:-
Drink lot of water: –Drinking lot of water helps in keeping your mouth moist. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best in simulating the production of saliva which helps in washing food particles and bacteria.
Stop smoking and chewing tobacco based products: – Ask experts for tips of kicking the habit
Practice good oral hygiene: – It is recommended that each individual should brush their teeth and tongue twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Floss your teeth once a everyday to remove food particles and plaques between teeth.
Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed next morning.
Regular Dental visit: – Minimum 2 times a year dental visit is what an individual is excepted to do. Dental doctors will conduct an oral examination and will be able to detect and treat periodontal diseases, dry mouth or other problems that may be the cause of bad breadth
Keep track of the food you eat: – Some medication may play a role in creating bad breadth. In this case it is suggested that you consult with your dentist.
Regular visit to you dentist can help you keep your mouth healthy and treat bad breath. In case the odor is not of oral origin you may be referred to your family doctor or to a specialist to determine the odor source and treatment plan and in case it is related to gum, you would be referred to a periodontics (dentist who specialized in treating gum condition) for the treatment.
An antiseptic mouthwash can help eliminate bacteria that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about which product is best for you.
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