What Is Halitosis

Posted by Shubhra Rastogi on Thu, Mar 10, 2011  
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For over ten days now, I have been wondering what to write. I have been going to bed pondering over a good topic, often dreaming about it and waking up in vain. But soon I found something to write about: Last week I met up with my friends for lunch. One of them was not her usual self. I kept asking her what was bothering her, but got no reply. After every one left, she said, ”You are a dentist, tell me a solution for bad breath. This problem is becoming so significant that I find it difficult to talk to people.” I told her not to worry, it could be solved. I discussed the causes and cure for bad breath (Halitosis) with her. By the end of our discussion I managed to bring back a smile on her face as she promised to fight bad breath. So here it goes, I would like to share it with all of you as well, Causes of Bad Breath:

• Odour causing foods: Whatever food one consumes, affects the air exhaled and some of them like garlic and onion contribute to objectionable breath odour. After getting absorbed into the blood stream the food is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled.

The odour stops when the body eliminates it fully. Infrequent eating can also cause unpleasant breath.

• Lack of Oral hygiene: If brushing and flossing is not done regularly, or if dentures are not cleaned properly, the food particles remain, collecting bacteria and causing bad breath. This appears to be due to the breakdown of proteins by a variety of bacteria. Several of the breakdown products are foul smelling gases. The posterior part of tongue is also an important source of bad breath. The postnasal drip can get stuck on the tongue, which is then broken down by bacteria on the tongue surface.

• Caries is the major causative agent of unpleasant smell from the mouth. In case of caries, there is accumulation of food particles in the tooth cavity, leading to acid production and finally intolerable odour.

• Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odour. Dry mouth can be the result of continuous breathing through the mouth, salivary gland problems or various medications.

• Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduces one’s ability to taste foods and irritate gum tissues, increasing the likelihood for periodontal disease.

• Periodontal Disease: Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth is one of the warning signs of periodontal disease.

• Sinus and respiratory infections: If bad breath appears suddenly in a child, it can mean the onset of a throat infection, bad breath will cease with the cure of throat infections. Ways to Fight Against Bad Breath

• Brush teeth after breakfast and dinner and get a professional cleaning done.

• Floss the teeth to remove the food particles from interdental areas.

• Clean the tongue by brushing or using tongue scraper.

• Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges to increase the flow of saliva.

• If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water. Try swooshing it around in your mouth for at least twenty seconds to loosen any food particles the bacteria can feed upon.

• Avoid breath mints and mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Instead of helping, they can make things worse. They only temporarily cover the smell and tend to dry the mouth, creating a more favorable environment for bacteria.

• Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption, which can dry the mouth.

• Snacking on vegetables such as raw celery or carrots can keep plaque from forming.

• Have regular check-ups with your dentist to rule out gum disease and to correct any faulty restorations, overhanging fillings or leaking crowns, all of which can trap food in the mouth. Halitosis is not a problem by itself, but it can cause concerns in our interpersonal relationships. Probably the worst effect of having halitosis, or bad breath, is the social and personal ramifications that may leave an individual feeling embarrassed or socially inept. A small percentage of people can have a chronic case of bad breath, which is more serious, and resulting symptoms of stress and depression.




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