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Bad Breath


Bad breath—clinically referred to as halitosis—is a very common problem affecting people of all ages.

Whatever you call it—whether it is bad breath or halitosis—it is a socially embarrassing condition that causes people to feel incredibly self-conscious.


Who Is Prone to Bad Breath?


1)      People who have difficulty maintaining a healthy dental care routine. This is especially true for children, the elderly and the disabled.

2)      People with poor dental hygiene as a result of bad dental habits and an inadequate dental care routine.

3)      People on specific medications such as antihistamines, blood pressure pharmaceuticals, calcium blockers and some vitamin supplements that cause a dry mouth and limit saliva flow.

4)      People on severe diets have an inhibited saliva flow causing a dry mouth—a great place for bacteria amount to increase.

5)      People with particular medical conditions such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, alcoholism, diabetes, allergies and throat infections.

6)      People who smoke.

7)      People with poor diets. This includes onions, garlic, diet soda, coffee and high-protein foods that stick in-between the teeth.


The Causes of Bad Breath


The main cause of bad breath is bacteria. Bad breath originates in your mouth as a result of the direct interaction between the open-air and bacteria in your mouth. Bacterial growth can also originate in the nasal passage, restraining your mucous flow which then leads to insufficient saliva flow.


Other Causes of Bad Breath


1)      Food: Certain foods cause bad breath. Garlic and onions are probably the most popular answers when asked what kinds of foods cause bad breath. How does food cause bad breath? When you eat, your digestive system breaks down the consumed food into molecules. Some molecules have unpleasant scents. The broken-down molecules then circulate throughout your body, providing it with its proper nourishment. These molecules then travel through your lungs along with your blood. When you exhale, your breath exerts some of the molecules with the unpleasant odor. Limit or avoid the foods that cause bad breath.

2)      Periodontal Disease: Periodontal disease—often referred to as gum disease—can be a cause of bad breath. In fact, periodontal disease is the second most common cause of halitosis.  People in their mid-thirties are more prone to periodontal disease. As a bacterial infection, periodontal disease originates in the tissues of your tooth structure, often resulting in some bone damage which then deepens spaces between the teeth. These spaces encourage bacterial growth, causing bad breath.

3)      Smoking: Smoking can cause bad breath as the actual act of smoking dries out your oral tissues. This decreases the moisture in your mouth which hinders the ability to wash away oral bacteria. Smokers increase their chances of developing periodontal disease.

4)      Sinus Problems: If you have sinus conditions such as allergies, you could face a greater risk of having bad breath. Why? Those with sinus problems have more postnasal drip in the back section of their tongues, omitting an unpleasant odor. Moreover, people with sinus conditions often experience difficulty breathing through their noses so they breathe with their mouths open. This encourages a dry mouth, inhibiting saliva flow and promoting bad breath.

5)      Dry Mouth: A dry mouth—clinically referred to as xerostomia—is a suitable environment for bad breath. If you have a dry mouth—which can result from prolonged speaking, fasting or breathing through your mouth—then you have a higher risk of developing bad breath. With a dry mouth, you have loss of moisture. Moisture in your mouth helps you clean it as oral fluids keep you swallowing, washing away bacteria, food debris and its wastes. If you have a chronically dry mouth—called xerostomia—can result from a certain medication you’re taking. Antihistamines, narcotics or diuretics have been known to result in xerostomia.


The Different Kinds of Bad Breath


Certain types of bacteria elicit particular unpleasant scents. This involves a mix of oxygen and sulfur compounds with gases containing nitrogen.


1)      The Rotten Egg Scent (hydrogen sulfide)

2)      The Corpse Scent (cadaverine)

3)      The Feces Scent (skatole)

4)      The Decaying Meat Scent (putrescine)

5)      The Smelly Feet Scent (isovaleric acid)


How to Treat Bad Breath


There are some ways to treat bad breath.


1)      Good Dental Hygiene:  Since the largest source of bad breath is bacteria, exercising a good dental hygiene routine diminishes bacteria growth. This includes proper and regular brushing and flossing between each tooth. Pay extra attention to brushing and flossing after a high-protein meal.

2)      A balanced Diet: A good diet allows a proper flow of saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria, reducing your chances of developing bad breath. Incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet as they encourage saliva flow. Fibrous fruits such as apples and oranges help maintain a healthy mouth, making it an undesirable place for bacteria.

3)      Tongue Scrapers: Tongue scrapers are great tools designed to remove the mucous off the back of your tongue where most of bacteria grow.

4)      Straws: If you consume sodas—which contain sugar—use straws to help push the liquid past your gums and teeth. Straws are especially useful for young children and the elderly.

5)      Clean your Dental Appliances: If you have dentures or dental braces, make sure you take proper care of them.

6)      Get Regular Dental Check-ups and Cleanings: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for assessing the quality of your teeth, gums and if applicable, any dental appliances you may have.