Bad breath also known as halitosis is a stinking usually unpleasant smell that comes out from an individual’s mouth when they speak or breathe through the mouth. This kind of odor can either strike out at particular periods or at persisting rates depending on whatever its major cause. It is common among millions of people in this world today, and it can drain somebody’s confidence, self esteem while relating with others. It is also noted for killing marriage or friendly relationships.
Symptoms of Bad Breath:
How do you detect bad breath in your self?
Well a person might not usually know that he has got the problem because in most cases odor-detecting cells in the nose eventually become used to the constant flow of bad smells from the mouth. However those closest to you may notice and the body language in reaction will tell you the presence of the problem in you.
But the best way to detect bad breath is by carrying out a personal practical test by using a small spoon and scrapping the protein bio film at the back of your tongue. An then leave it to dry for a few seconds before checking if it has got an odor. Also look at the color of the scrapping; a yellowish coating indicates bad breath due to the hydrogen sulphide (rotten eggs) particles in the bio film.
Depending on the cause, other symptoms of bad breath may include the following:
- Pale or swollen gums and can easily breed.
- Food debris trapped between teeth.
- Loose teeth or painful, open sores on the tongue or gums
- Infections in the respiratory tract: swollen lymph nodes (swollen glands) in the neck, fever, Sore throat, stuffy nose, a greenish or yellowish nasal discharge, a mucus-producing cough.
- External agents: Cigarette stains on fingers and teeth, a uniform yellow “coffee stain” on teeth
- Dry mouth: Difficulty in swallowing dry foods, difficulty in speaking for a prolonged period because of mouth dryness, a burning sensation in the mouth, an unusually high number of dental caries, dry eyes.
- Systemic (body wide) illnesses: symptoms of diabetes, lung disease, kidney failure or liver disease
Types of Bad Breath and their causes:
Bad breath is categorized into three types:
- Temporary bad breath: This is a type of bad breath caused by a dry mouth (usually caused by salivary gland problems, medications or by “mouth breathing.”, poor hygiene ( not brushing teeth regularly), eating certain types of food (such as raw Garlic, onions, coffee, cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco) etc.
- Morning mouth/breath: This is the type which occurs early in the morning when a person opens up their eyes. It is caused by long night dryness of the mouth. The “morning mouth” type of bad breath occurs because the saliva that regularly washes away decaying food and odors during the daytime diminishes at night while you are asleep. When your mouth becomes dry, dead cells stick to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. These cells are then consumed by bacteria as food expelling compounds that have an unpleasant odor in the due process.
- Chronic Bad breath: This is a terrible bad breath that is caused by illness in the body such as lung or gastric infections, diabetes, kidney problems, and other illnesses.
Some types of bad breath, such as “morning breath,” are considered to be moderately normal and not serous health concerns.
General Cause of Bad breath:
Professor Mark Wolff Director of operative dentistry at the University of New York at Stony Brook says that about 75percent of bad breath problems are caused by the mouth its self, mentioning other causes as being sinus infections or severe gum diseases and gastric problems.
In several millions of people, the primary causes of bad breath are the bacteria that live at the back of the tongue. These bacteria are able to smoothly grow due to the mouth’s warm & moist pleasant conditions. In his practical observation while treating patients with bad breath, Dr Geoffrey Speiser a specialist in halitosis related diseases says that he found out that the normal mouth bacteria that were not cleaned away completely every 12 hours were able to form colonies in a protein mix on the tongue surface. This protein mix is called a bio film and it not only provides a food source for bacteria but also protects them from antiseptics and antibiotics. This is why it’s not easy to treat bad breath by simply rinsing with mouth wash, or by taking a course of a medicine.
Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Bad breath!
If you have bad breath, all you have to do is to visit a physician or a dentist. And when you do, your dentist may notice your bad breath problem while discussing with you about your medical history and symptoms. Depending on the smell of your breath, the dentist or physician may suspect the likely cause for your problem. For example a urine like-smell indicates kidney failure especially in a person infected with kidney infections.
Your dentist’ll carryout a physical examination of your medical history for conditions that caused your bad breath and for all the possible medications. He will discuss with you about your personal diet, smoking habits, tobacco chewing, other symptoms and when bad breath was first noticed.
Once the physical examination is finished, you may be referred to a physician or a dentist if in severe cases of gum disease, your dentist may recommend that you see a periodontist (dentist who specializes in gum problems).
The doctor will recommend diagnostic tests if he suspects liver diseases syndrome, lung infections, kidney disease, and diabetes depending on the suspected illness, these tests may include X-rays of the chest or sinuses, blood tests, urine tests, or other specialized testing.
Preventing Bad breath!
Many people have bad breath without even realizing it. This can cripple your likelihood of enjoying a healthy social life, finding a significant other, and even advancement in your career. The initial single most important aspect of having a fresh breath is to have proper oral hygiene by removing food debris from the teeth and then brushing your teeth daily with fluoride antibacterial tooth paste after every meal. While cleaning your teeth, do not forget to brush on top & the bottom of your tongue. Clean twice both the top and the bottom region of the tongue and after wards, rinse the tongue & tongue brush with warm water to remove any odor causing bacteria. A clinical study conducted by the University of Buffalo dental researchers confirmed that brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste and using a tooth brush with a tongue cleaner can eliminate bad breath.
Also, you need to ask your dental professional what oral hygiene care products are the best to use in helping to eliminate bad breath such as antibacterial toothpaste, antiseptic mouth rinse, tongue brushes or scrapers and interproximal cleaning devices).For example, tongue scrapers can be found in most health food stores, and also in drug stores and convenience stores as they have nowadays become more popular.
Along side daily thorough oral hygiene, you should beware of the use proper nutritional or other health fitness practices such as physical exercises to protect your body against periodontal diseases, diabetes, dry mouth, throat infections, lung infections or abscesses, kidney/liver failure, gastrointestinal issues and severe dieting Etcetera.
The Top Ten Tips to ensuring a fresh Breath:
1. If there’re gaps between your teeth, remove food debris from inside the teeth, and brush your teeth thoroughly meanwhile do not forget to clean the tongue as well.
2. Drink at least a half cup of typical hot water after cleaning your mouth and don’t drink or eat something else for at least 30minutes to allow smooth mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach wash.
3. Eat fresh vegetables such as pepper mint, spear mint, carrots, onions, cucumber, parsley, cabbages and others to assist your body in maintaining a fresh breath.
4. After eating anything other than water either during day or night, rinse your mouth thoroughly and gargle with water to remove nasty bacteria that can pile up in your mouth later causing bad breath.
5. Eat fresh fruits such as guavas, goose berry, mangoes, paw paws and rough foods such as bread which can help in cleaning your throat back.
6. Drink plenty of water after every meal but avoid drinking cold water during meals especially in none hot climatic conditions.
7. Visit a dentist at least twice a year for medical check ups, mouth clean ups, and recommendations.
8. Don’t drink alcohol because many people find this smell highly offensive.
9. After brushing your teeth with toothpaste, brush with baking soda or swish with a solution of baking soda and water. It will help to level out the pH balance in your mouth making it harder for bacteria to fester. Do this before bed and you can eliminate morning breath.
10. Don’t smoke tobacco because most people don’t like the smell, and so if you want to have fresh breath, STOP the habit. Many people report that cigars, in particular, give off a feces-like odor that is most disturbing.
(1). The oral cavity plays an important role in the overall health of the body. Reviewed information at www.oralsystemicconnection.com.
(2). That Smell: What to Do if It’s Coming From You – Dentists Discuss Treatments for Bad Breath. Reviewed information at hhttp://www.webmd.com/news/20010809/ooh-that-smell-what-to-do-if-its-coming-from-you
(3) 1. Biesbrock, A, et al. Assessment of Treatment Responses to Dental Flossing in Twins., J Perio 77(8):1386-1391, 2006.
(4). University of Buffalo (Peter Moses, Betsey Clark, Violet Maraszthy, Joseph Zambon, (University of Buffalo), P.K. Sreenivasan (Colgate), Abstract presented at 2008 AADR Meeting.