Halitosis (Bad Breath) – Causes and Tips
Halitosis is a condition characterized by a foul smell originating in the mouth. In simple terms, bad breath, and there can be several causes. In any case, you need to cure it if you have it, not only to save you from embarrassment, but also to protect your body against a potential health issue that may for now be manifesting halitosis.
Around 90% of bad breath microorganisms are found on the tongue. In particular, these germs may cover those minute papillae, leading to halitosis. Give your tongue a long, hard look in the mirror. If you see some kind of coating, then you likely have bad breath. When brushing their teeth, some people forget about their tongue, which requires regular cleaning too. But a tongue scraper works better than a toothbrush when removing the coating.
The bad odor from the mouth may also begin in the throat. A common throat condition that brings bad breath is tonsillitis – when tonsils are infected and there are tonsil stones, halitosis results. Respiratory tract infections of any kind can cause this condition too, such as pneumonia, chronic sinus infections and even chronic acid reflux, to name a few.
Halitosis may also arise from issues affecting the GI system. In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acids, which are usually accompanied by undigested food and bile, flow back up into the esophagus and cause halitosis. When vomiting becomes dehydrating, it can cause bad breath too as the mouth dries. Saliva lubricates the mouth and washes away leftover food bits and bacteria.
Halitosis can result from dental problems like gum disease and dental cavities too. So if you’re dealing with any of those issues, you should have it taken care of by your dentist before it gives you bad breath, if it hasn’t already. Yes, it could be a dental problem, or it could be totally unrelated to dentistry. If your dentist suspects it is beyond dentistry, they will make recommendations as needed.
Basic Tips for Avoiding or Curing Bad Breath
– Drink a lot of water everyday (a dry mouth breeds bad breath). – Before going to sleep every night, be sure to remove your dentures and clean them thoroughly. – Brush your teeth twice daily and floss everyday too. – See your dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and checkups. – Avoid tobacco and foods that leave a bad smell in the mouth, like raw garlic and onions. – Eat more cloves, aniseeds and fennel seeds, which all have antibacterial properties; and odor-neutralizing fresh herbs like basil and cilantro.