Bad Breath [Halitosis] – You Take My Breath Away!
Bad breath or Halitosis refers to unpleasant, disagreeable and distinct odour exhaled in breathing. A person with bad breath may not be aware of his condition as those around him might not want to hurt his feelings. Bad breath has significant impact, personally and socially, on those who suffer from it or believe they do.
Do you have bad breath? To check for bad breadth, lick the back of your hand, let it dry, and then smell it, or run dental floss between your teeth and sniff it .Most bad breath originates from bacteria in the mouth, found on the tongue surface and between the teeth. Bad breath can have range of causes which may include: mouth infection, poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, some foods and medication, habits or systematic diseases.
Mouth Infection/Poor dental hygiene: The most common cause of bad breath is food particles remaining in the mouth. This can collect bacteria and emit smelly vapours. Bad breath can also happen with periodontal (gum) disease, which gum irritation from plaque formation a sticky, colourless film of bacteria on the teeth.
Dry mouth: Besides remnant food particles in the mouth, certain drinks such as alcohol and coffee can cause a temporary odour. The types of food we eat can lead to bad breath too. Examples include foods like onion, garlic, etc. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the oils get carried to the lungs to produce bad breath. It can take up to 72 hours the smell goes away.
Systematic Diseases : Examples include discharge due to infections of the respiratory system, diabetes, metabolic disorders, kidney/liver disease and acid reflux. Certain medications may also cause bad breath.
Smoking: Tobacco smoking dries out the mouth resulting in stale breath. The risk of gum disease also increases with smoking which can, again, lead to bad breath.
Dieting and fasting: Low carbohydrate diets lead to ketosis- the breakdown of fats for energy in the absence of carbohydrates. The release of ketones gives birth to fruity smell. When fasting, the release of digestive juices in the stomach can also cause odour. Salivary flow also reduces , causing dry mouth.
Key points towards control of bad breath important
Bad breath may be a sign of certain medical conditions so it is always best to consult a dentist if the condition persists despite all the remedies mentioned earlier.