Bad breath, referred to in the medical world as halitosis is the condition of unpleasant odours exhaled from the mouth. It’s a very common and embarrassing problem that many people are unaware they even have. Bad breath can range from mild and temporary to sever and persistent.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The smell from bad breath comes from gases released by bacteria in the mouth. An area such as the teeth, gums or tongue are all places where smell causing bacteria can thrive.
Foods and drinks we consume can also cause bad breath. I’m sure most people have heard of “union breath”. Strong foods such as unions, garlic or coffee can all have an impact on our breath.
Another not so common but very definite cause of bad breath is dry mouth. This is known as xerostomia and is a condition that reduces the flow of saliva.
Saliva regulates the build up of bacteria in our mouth and acts as a natural defence. When the flow of saliva is reduced it allows the bacteria to multiple and with this comes the release of smelly gases. Dry mouth (Xerostomia) can be brought on by some drugs or other medial conditions.
There are two types of bad breath, transient and persistent. Everyone has had transient bad breath at some point in their life as it’s quite unavoidable. Foods that have a strong smell to them such as onion or garlic can cause transient bad breath which naturally passes after some time. Brushing or chewing mint gum can speed up the process of clearing bad breath caused by foods.
Another common form of transient bad breath is the dreaded “morning breath” which can be particularly unpleasant upon waking. Bad breath in the in the morning after a long sleep is particularly prominent because the mouth does not get as much oxygen, bacteria levels increase and gases build up.
How to Test if you have Bad Breath
Transient bad breath is noting to worry about and is something that we all can get from time to time. However, persistent bad breath can be a real problem that has a negative impact on every day life. If you think you may have persistent bad breath there are a couple of things you can do to test for it.
Make sure that the inside of your wrist is free from any perfumes, after shaves or soupy smells. Then lick the inside of you wrist and have a sniff. If the smell is bad then it’s a sure sign that your breath is too.
Alternatively, you could ask a very trusted and close friend or family member. But be sure you choose someone that you trust to give an honest answer. This is probably one of the best ways to find out if you have persistent bad breath.
Persistent bad breath can also be a sign of other more serious oral health problems such as gum disease. If you are suspicions or worried that you may have persistent bad breath then it’s impotent that you get it check as soon as possible, just encase it’s a sign of something more serious brewing.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
As previously mentioned, the cause of bad breath comes from gases released from bacteria and/or old food debris in the mouth. Improving your brushing routine with a good quality electric toothbrush such as the Oral B Professional care 1000 is a great way to clear more of the small causing culprit’s, plaque bacteria and bits of food from the teeth and gums.
Use a good mouth was after brushing to enhance cleaning and the flushing away of food debris. A good mouthwash will also provide a fresh minty breath for a limited time.
Flossing is another good way to prevent bad breath as this will improve your oral hygiene and cleaning. Flossing can extra time that we don’t always have. Philips introduced a great flossing product to the market call the Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8111/02 and uses a water jet for fast cleaning between teeth.
Be conscious of the kinds of foods you are eating and at what times of the day. Obviously you don’t want to eat a strong garlic rich meal for lunch followed by an important face to face meeting with someone.
Keep some sugar free chewing gum handy for those times of the day when you feel your breath may be starting to smell. The gum will stimulate saliva which will help neutralize and was away bacterial plus you will get the added benefit of menthol scent.
There are just general tips and ideas to prevent bad breath. If you feel you have persistent bad breath or any other oral health problem then please speak to your dentist for personal and professional advice.