Halitosis (Bad breadth)
I have to write this with the hope that one of my colleague gets to read about it. For her halitosis is so bad I want to scream each time she is talking to me. Tough, maybe this article will help. I have pointed this to her many times but I do not think she has got a clue of what those around her feel each time she is around. Hope this will help her and many others with the same problem.
More than just a social problem, halitosis is a dental and medical problem, which may stem from the activity of bacteria in the mouth. Most cases of bad breath appear to be due to the breakdown of sulfur-containing proteins by a variety of micro-organisms - especially the gram-negative bacteria which produce foul-smelling gases.
In people with healthy teeth and gums, the odour usually comes from the far back region of the tongue, and grows stronger when talking.
Twenty five percent of chronic (i.e. of long duration) cases of halitosis are caused by odours coming from the lungs, alimentary tract, tonsils, adenoids etc. due to medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, or the metabolism of certain types of drugs.
Diet and dieting also commonly cause halitosis. Bad breath is most commonly caused by the degradation of naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth.
Bacteria thrive on proteins and therefore the following high-protein foods can contribute to halitosis:
- Milk and cheese and most other dairy products
In some people, bad breath is associated with gum disease. Your dentist can help prevent and treat gum diseases in various ways, depending on the type and extent of the problem, but your own daily home care can maintain gum health between appointmentsAnyone can suffer from halitosis and most people do at some point in their lives. People with poor dental hygiene and those who smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine irritate the problem.
A few of the common signs of this problem are:
- A white coating on the surface of the tongue
- A sour, bitter or metallic taste related to higher acid levels in the mouth
- Dryness in the mouth, extreme "morning breath", or evidence of thicker saliva
- High levels of postnasal drip or mucus in the throat
- An increase in bad breath after eating certain foods, using mouthwashes or hormonal therapies, or during the menstrual cycle.
Tiny round white globules known as tonsillitis are also related to halitosis and sour taste. They are created by sulphur gases produced by bacteria located across from the tonsils in the throat area. The sulphur gas mixes with the mucus and thick saliva in the back of your throat and after a period of time, condense into these concentrated, odorous globs.
Halitosis can be prevented in most cases. To combat bad breath, you should first ensure that your oral hygiene is excellent. Visit the dentist regularly for teeth cleaning, and brush your teeth and tongue at least twice daily. As the back of the tongue is known to frequently harbour a population of odour-causing bacteria, it should be scraped/brushed thoroughly.
As already indicated, of the wide number of adult sufferers, 90 percent of bad breath is related to oral causes and therefore it becomes the responsibility of the dentist to diagnose and treat these individuals.
In general the most effective way to manage bad breath is by maintaining proper oral hygiene, regular dental cleanings and diligent brushing of the tongue.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Have your teeth cleaned periodically by a dental professional.
- Floss or otherwise clean between your teeth.
- Choose unscented floss so that you can detect those areas between your teeth that give off odours, and clean them more carefully.
- Brush your teeth and gums properly.
- Ask your dentist to recommend a toothbrush or scraper for your tongue. Clean your tongue all the way back gently, but thoroughly.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Chew sugar-free gum for a minute or two at a time, especially if your mouth feels dry. Chewing parsley, mint, cloves or fennel seeds may also help.
- Clean your mouth after eating or drinking milk products, fish and meat.
- False teeth should be brushed daily using dishwashing liquid (the same that you use to clean knives and forks) and a soft brush. If there are stains or tartar on the teeth, have them professionally cleaned.
- If someone in your family or a close friend has bad breath, find a kind way to let them know.
- Ask your dentist to recommend a mouthwash that has been shown to be clinically effective in fighting bad breath, and use it just before going to sleep. None on the market that can be used for long periods of time, however.
- Eat fresh, fibrous vegetables such as carrots.
- Don't let your concern about having bad breath run your life. Don't be passive.
- Don't ignore your gums - you can lose your teeth as well as smell bad.
- Don't drink too much coffee - it may make the situation worse.
- Don't forget to clean behind the back teeth in each row.
- Don't brush your tongue with regular toothpaste - it's better to dip your toothbrush in mouthwash for tongue cleaning.
- Don't run to the gastroenterologist for concerns of having bad breath - it usually comes from the mouth and seldom from the stomach.
- Don't give mouthwash to very young children, as they can swallow it.
- Don't clean your tongue so hard that it hurts.
- Don't rely on mouthwash alone - practise complete oral hygiene.
When you are showing signs and symptoms of halitosis or when told so by a friend, make an appointment to see a dentist to help you with the problem.