Halitosis (Bad Breath) – Causes and Tips
Halitosis is a condition characterized by a foul smell originating in the mouth. In short, bad breath, and there can be a variety of causes. If you have it, you have to cure it not just to save you from embarrassment, but more importantly to protect you against an underlying health problem that could be manifesting as halitosis at this point.
Around 90% of bad breath microorganisms are found on the tongue. In particular, these germs may cover those minute papillae, leading to halitosis. Take a long, hard look at your tongue in the mirror. If you see some kind of coating, then you likely have bad breath. When they brush teeth, some people forget they have a tongue that must also be cleaned. A tongue scraper works better though (instead of a toothbrush) to get rid of the coating, which is practically a combination of food bits, bacteria and dead cells.
The bad odor from the mouth may also begin in the throat. One example of a halitosis-causing throat condition is tonsillitis – infected tonsils plus tonsil stones means bad breath. Any type of respiratory tract infection can be a cause of this condition as well, from chronic sinus infections to chronic acid reflux to pneumonia and the rest.
Halitosis can also be caused by problems in the gastrointestinal 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. One of the functions of saliva is lubricating the mouth and flushing away bacteria as well as food bits.
Halitosis can result from dental problems like gum disease and dental cavities too. So if you have one of those, see your dentist before you get bad breath, if not yet. Yes, it could be a dental problem, or it could be totally unrelated to dentistry. If your dentist thinks it’s beyond dentistry, they will give you advice as necessary.
Basic Tips for Avoiding or Curing Bad Breath
– Drink enough water everyday (dry mouth equals bad breath). – Take off and clean your dentures thoroughly before going to sleep. – Make it a point to brush your teeth twice and to floss everyday. – Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. – Stay away from tobacco and odor-causing foods such as 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.