Bad breath (Halitosis)
Halitosis, Also Known As Bad Breath, is one of the most common and uncomfortable social problems. Unfortunately most people are completely unaware of having bad breath and the fact that everyone around them knows about it, because it is a subject that is hard to bring up without hurting the person’s feelings.
Like Body Odor or Acne, Bad Breath can cause someone to be alienated or even bullied causing people to become self-conscious and lose confidence.
Here we will discuss some of the main known sources of bad breath and how to solve them.
Bad breath can come from different sources; however, the most common cause is mouth bacteria. We have about 400 different kinds of bacteria in our mouths and if we don’t do a good job at eliminating germs from their hiding places, we will develop breath problems.
In the mouth there are many places that harbor bacteria. The more obvious ones are in between teeth, and around the gum line. But bacteria can also lurk in cavities, overhangs and undercuts of dental work, exposed root surfaces, teeth that are partially erupted or impacted and on the surface of the tongue.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
If you’re brushing and flossing, it is important to check your technique with your dentist or hygienist because you may be leaving behind debris in some areas.
If teeth and gum problems have been discarded, then it is possible that the tongue may have bacteria that sits on the surface fermenting food debris and producing sulfur compounds, the same kind that rotten eggs produce. In that case, a tongue scraper that is a rake-like tool available at most supermarkets and pharmacies can be used to scrape the tongue upper surface from the back forward a few times every time you brush, eliminating most of the bacteria and debris. It is debatable if mouthwash has any long lasting effect on the freshness of the breath but if you’re going to be using mouthwash, make sure it is alcohol free, since those that contain alcohol tend to cause dry mouth, which may make the problem worse.
If that does not help, then the problem may lay in areas beyond what you can reach with regular home care measures. In those cases we will evaluate for possible sources. Sometimes existing dental work can leave narrow clefts and areas that catch germs and debris and in that case we will recommend restorative or gum treatment to address the problem.
When gums get swollen or recede, leaving the roots exposed, it uncovers the area where the roots branch out, these areas are called furcations and they can become like a cave or a tunnel under which bacteria can lurk without being disrupted by normal hygiene measures.
Other sources of bad breath are:
- Dry Mouth/Xerostomia
- Undergoing Cancer Treatment
- Certain Autoimmune conditions
Your AIRWAY could also be a source of bad breath
- Sinus problems
- Chronic allergies
- Upper respiratory Infections
- Diet and Habits
- Ketosis (Low carb diets, morning breath)
- garlic, onion, curry
If it is diet and habits related, you can avoid those foods. For tobacco and alcohol consumption, you may need a more professional clinical approach like enrolling on tobacco cessation program or consulting with an advisor.
If the cause is SYSTEMIC or due to MEDICATIONS, the priority is the treatment of the medical condition, talk to your physician before making any changes on your medicine dosage or frequency.
HOW TO KNOW IF AND WHEN YOU HAVE IT?
Best thing you can do is ask one of your close relatives or ask your dentist.
HOW TO TELL SOMEONE THAT THEY HAVE BAD BREATH ?
Obviously this is a subject that is best approached in a private conversation, the best approach is to be honest and caring about it.
“You know I care a lot about everyone in this company/family and when I see something that can affect them negatively I need to make you aware “
And then you just tell them ” I noticed that you have bad breath”.
As difficult as this conversation may be, it won’t do you any good for me to not say anything
“I wanted to mention it because I have read that it may not just be a brushing and flossing issue, it may be due to a dental or a medical problem “
You can direct them to information that heightens their awareness like online articles, videos or maybe my next podcast episode. CLICK HERE .