we have all had it at one time or another. The good news is that are many effective ways we can follow to keep breath odour at bay. Knowing what causes bad breath can help reduce the risk.
What causes bad breath?
Halitosis, or bad breath, usually starts in the mouth. Poor oral hygiene allows food particles to stay on the tongue, between the teeth, or on the gum tissue in and around the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth breaks down these food particles, releasing chemicals that produce bad breath and a strong odour. Food particles are washed out of the mouth by saliva; therefore, people with dry mouths are more susceptible to bad breath. Some medications and smoking can contribute to dry mouth.
Mouth infections, including decayed teeth, gum disease, mouth sores, and problems related to other dental conditions, may lead to bad breath.
Surgical wounds from extracted teeth, for example, can also be a source of halitosis.
The bacterial film called ‘plaque’ that occurs naturally in our mouth is a sign of poor oral hygiene. If plaque is not removed regularly, it can lead to bacterial infestation. Plaque should be removed at least once in 6 months or as advised by the doctor. The bacteria in plaque paves the way for an odour that affects the breath.
Foods such as garlic and onions, in particular, can cause foul breath. The foods we eat digest into chemicals that cause odours in the bloodstream, which then enters the lungs; these chemicals are then exhaled.
Food high in protein and sugar have also been associated with bad breath.
Bad breath can be a by-product of certain health conditions too. It may be the outcome of infections in the nose, throat or lungs; sinusitis; postnasal drip; chronic bronchitis; or abnormalities in the digestive system.
11 home remedies to avoid bad breath
There are quite several simple things that can be done to keep the mouth clean and eliminate bad odour. These steps help reduce the development of bacteria in the mouth and, in turn, makes breath fresher. In case of persisting bad breath and other dental problems, it’s good to take the advice of the doctor.
- Brushing the teeth not less than twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing the teeth every day
- In case when a person wears dentures, it is best to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before putting them back in
- Rinsing the mouth with herbs like tea tree oil, clove etc
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding strong-smelling food
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Drinking plenty of water
- Taking medications or a spray to fight bad breath
- Using an anti bacterial mouthwash
- Chewing fresh mint, parsley or fennel seeds.
Using an antibacterial mouthwash
Using an antibacterial mouth wash can help reduce or completely fend off bad breath. If an antibacterial mouthwash is used twice a day, the results are better. When using a mouthwash that doesn’t kill bacteria, it’s unlikely to achieve any results. An antibacterial mouthwash works right away. When considering an antibacterial mouth wash, look for the active ingredients that kill the bacteria. Look out for brands with the active ingredients such as
- Corsodyl (chlorhexidine gluconate)
- Dentyl pH (cetylpyridinium chloride)
- Peroxyl (hydrogen peroxide).
Or it is also advisable to get a mouth wash prescribed by a doctor with active ingredients to fight mouth wash.
Besides, there are other treatments meant to get rid of bad breath caused by bacteria. These include tongue cleaners to brush the tongue, kinds of toothpaste containing zinc in it, and there is something called artificial saliva, which comes as a lozenge, a spray or a gel.
Gum diseases and bad breath
Gum diseases can also be a major reason for bad breath. Minor gum diseases like gingivitis can be treated easily by cleaning and flossing the teeth thoroughly every day. Scraping the plaque off the teeth can also help reduce gum diseases which are termed scaling. If the gum disease is more advanced, like periodontitis, the person may need more advanced treatments accordingly, such as scaling below the gum, root planning or flap surgery.
In cases of bad breath that doesn’t improve with treatment, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to fix the problem.
Bad breath is a very common problem we face often. Likewise, it is also very easy to treat it, usually with simple methods. Bad breath problems can usually be cured by just maintaining good oral hygiene. Nevertheless, a dentist will probably be able to help if breath doesn’t improve.
If a person is still worried about having bad breath, even after being reassured by the dentist, the chances are that the person has a condition called halitophobia. This condition could be a phobia, a strong fear of having bad breath, even when the breath smells normal. As with any phobia, a psychologist or psychiatrist will be able to provide help.