Anyone that has ever suffered from bad breath knows how embarrassing it can be; from the “morning bad breath”, which is quite normal, to the more severe cases of recurring or permanent halitosis, the technical term for chronic bad breath. Halitosis comes from Latin “halitus” and the Greek suffix “-osis”, which means "breath condition".
In some instances, you might not notice that you have bad breath because the receptors of smell in your nose become accustomed to the bad smells emitted by your mouth, so it might be someone close to you that will eventually let you know about it.
Most bad breath cases are caused by dental origins, but other origins can be the culprit, such as medical origins or external agents. But worry not, with a few simple steps, you can regain a nice, odorless breath and if these steps are not enough, a visit to your dentist, dental hygienist or physician will be able to rid you of those annoying smells.
DENTAL ORIGINS OF BAD BREATH
Producing a normal level of saliva is quite important as saliva keeps your mouth moist and keeps cleaning your mouth from unwanted food debris that bacteria feed on to grow. If you feel parched, you might be short on saliva. Certain medications, salivary gland problems or simply breathing through your mouth can keep your saliva flow low.
If you notice your gums are red, swollen or bleed especially after brushing or flossing, you might suffer from gum disease also called periodontal disease. You may also have a tooth (or a few) in bad shape and this tooth decay can generate the foul odor. A visit to your dentist or hygienist will help you determine if an oral disease is causing your halitosis.
Poor Oral Hygiene
If you do not brush and floss as often enough or as well as the American Dental Association, your dentist or dental hygienist recommend, you might have food stuck between your teeth, on and under your tongue and at your gum line decaying. These decaying food particles are the lifeline of bacteria that feed on them to grow and when doing so, they leave behind a foul-smelling waste product in your mouth, causing bad breath.
If you wear a denture, a poor cleaning of it will also allow bacteria to feed on the food particles left on it and cause bad breath.
MEDICAL ORIGINS OF HALITOSIS
If you have or have had a sinus, lung or throat infection, such as a cold with stuffy nose, phlegm, sore throat or a sinusitis, or bronchitis, it may be the cause of the bad smell you are detecting.
Acid reflux can also cause bad breath as the acids that should break down your food and push it to your intestines may be going back up through your esophagus and create gas that is foul-smelling. Most typically describe this phenomenon as heartburn. Just like certain heavy-to-digest foods, severe dieting can also cause acid reflux.
Other Systemic Diseases
A few diseases such as diabetes, liver disease or kidney failure can also cause the bad breath that you might mistakenly attribute to oral health.
In rare instances, a person might smell a foul odor coming from her mouth that does not exist and that no one else perceives, not even healthcare professionals or scientific testing (volatile sulfur compounds causing bad breath can be detected by a testing apparatus). In that case, the person might suffer from “pseudo-halitosis”.
“Halitophobia” can be another situation where the person perceives a bad breath when the treatment of halitosis has already been successful.
EXTERNAL AGENTS AFFECTING BREATH
Food and Drinks
Certain foods like garlic and onions are particularly strong in smell and sticky, so they adhere more easily to the teeth or gum line generating smells and contain odor-causing compounds that get absorbed by the digestive system and later released through breath or saliva.
Certain drinks like coffee can also alter the odor of the air you exhale.
Chewing tobacco can produce halitosis. And smoking is known to leave many with a bad breath as it favors the growth of foul-smelling bacteria in your mouth. Smokers might not notice their bad breath as smoking alters the sense of smell. Tobacco also irritates gums and make them more subject to periodontal diseases, which in turn generated bad breath.
EASY STEPS TO GET RID OF BREATH ODORS
Better Oral Hygiene
If the source of the breath foul-smelling odors is dental, a better oral hygiene can be the simple answer to your trouble.
Just brush your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes as the American Dental Association, your dentist or your dental hygienist recommend. Make sure also that you are using a fresh toothbrush. As time passes, the bristles’ ends that have been rounded in soft domes during manufacturing become sharp again hurting your gums and making them more prone to gum diseases, which causes odors. As well the splayed bristles do not reach between teeth, and gum and teeth leaving behind bacteria that cause bad breath. Use a service like getNewToothbrush to guarantee the delivery of a fresh toothbrush for each member of your family in time.
Do not forget to floss also once a day to eliminate the bacteria stuck between your teeth that cause bad odors and of course a good cleaning of your tongue with either a toothbrush or tongue scraper (you can extend that to the interior of your cheeks too) is paramount as odor-producing bacteria mainly settle there.
Chewing sugarless gum and using mouth rinse can also help maintain a fresh breath.
Cleaning of your removable denture thoroughly will also guarantee a better oral hygiene.
If you smoke, you might seriously consider stopping. Today, many options are available to help you achieve a smoke-free lifestyle. It will present a lot of benefits for your oral but also overall health as well as that of your loved ones and needless to mention the savings that not smoking will allow.
Consult with Professionals
If your bad breath is not caused by any source that you can directly affect by your oral habits or smoking habits, make sure to consult with a dentist, who might refer you to a periodontist in case of gum disease or a physician if your halitosis is caused by a systemic disease.
How quick you can get rid of bad breath will depend on its cause but by making sure you follow always good hygiene practices, you go to regular checkups with your dentist and you consult with your physician, you will get the quickest way to a fresh breath! In any case, drinking a lot of water can help keep bad breath at bay as it keeps your mouth moist, helps your digestion, flushes food particles stuck between your teeth, and teeth and gums. It is wonderful for your overall health as well so drinking more can only help you!