Chronic Halitosis: Causes, Treatments & Prevention
Bad breath is one of the severe conditions that does not just cause social embarrassment but also gives rise to anxiety in certain cases. There is no dearth of the artificial mouth fresheners these days, but they are not able to eliminate the root cause of bad breath. They are just temporary measures as they fail to address the cause of the problem.
Certain types of health conditions, foods and habits can all lead to bad breath. If the uncomplicated techniques of self-care do not solve the issue you should immediately see your dentist.
Symptoms of Bad Breath
Bad breath happens when your mouth smells foul. You can ask a relative or a close friend to judge the mouth odour as you won’t be able to gauge that by yourself.
If there is nobody to do so, the best thing you can do is lick your wrist and let it dry. Then follow it up by smelling. A bad smell on the wrist area is going to suggest that you have halitosis.
Some individuals can be conscious about the breath even if they have no or little mouth odour. Better known as Halitophobia, this condition can often result in the obsessive mouth-cleaning behaviour.
2. Sour or Unpleasant Changes or Taste in the Mouth
3. A Coating on the Tongue
When you have persistent dry mouth or sores in the mouth or are suffering from bad breath, it is mandatory that you see the dentist without delay.
Causes of Bad Breath
Most of the bad breath actually occurs in the mouth and there are numerous reasons that can lead to it like the following. Take a look.
(1) Tobacco – Smoking gives rise to an unpleasant mouth odour of its own. The oral tobacco users and the smokers are more likely to have gum ailment and that also gives rise to mouth odour.
(2) Food – As the food breaks down around the teeth, the bacteria in the mouth can get enhanced and give rise to foul odour. Eating the foods like garlic, onions, spices can all give rise to bad breath.
(3) Dry Mouth – The saliva helps to cleanse the mouth by removing the particles that lead to bad breath. The dry mouth can naturally occur as you sleep which results in morning breath. Again, if you sleep with an open mouth then this condition worsens. Some diseases and the conditions related to the salivary glands can also lead to bad breath.
(4) Infections in the Mouth – The bad breath can be created by the wounds made during oral surgery like post removal of tooth or as a result of gum ailment, tooth decay or mouth sores.
(5) Poor Dental Hygiene – If you refrain from brushing and flossing on a regular basis, it can give rise to bad breath. The plaque forms on the teeth and it can irritate the gums if not brushed away. Your tongue can also trap the bacteria which produce the odours. The dentures not cleaned regularly can also harbour the odour causing bacteria.
(6) Medications – Certain medications can indirectly give rise to bad breath by contributing to the dry mouth. There are also medications that can be broken down in the body to release the chemicals that can be carried on the breath.
(7) Diseases – Certain diseases like certain types of cancers and metabolic disorders can lead to bad breath. Also, the GERD or the chronic stomach reflux can be linked to bad breath. Even foreign bodies like a piece of food blocking the nostril in case of children can be the cause of bad breath. Apart from that, chronic inflammation or infections in the sinuses, nose or throat can also lead to post nasal drip resulting in bad breath. Moreover, bad breath can also start from the from the small stones in the tonsil covered with bacteria producing odour.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Bad Breath
Your dentist is likely to smell the breath from both the mouth and nose and that is then rated on a scale. As the rear portion of the tongue is the source of the smell, your dentist can rate and scrape the odour. Although they are not always available, there are advanced detectors capable of identifying the chemicals responsible for the bad breath.
You must adhere to strict oral health care regime in order to lower the risks of gum ailment and avoid cavities for practising the good oral hygiene. On the basis of the cause, further treatment of bad breath can vary. Your dentist can recommend you to a primary care giver if the bad breath is stemming from some underlying health condition. Your dentist will help you and work with you for causes that are related to the oral health.
(a) Toothpastes and Mouth Rinses– If the bad breath happens because of the bacteria build-up, your dentist can recommend a mouth rinse to kill the bacteria. A toothpaste containing antibacterial properties can also be recommended for doing away with the bacteria that lead to bacterial build-up.
(b) Dental Disease Treatment – If you have gum ailment a gum specialist can be referred to you. The gum ailment can lead to the gums pulling away from the teeth leaving the deep pockets. These are then filled with the bacteria that cause odour. Your dentist may also advise you to replace the restorations of faulty teeth which are a breeding ground for the bacteria.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Bad Breath
Here are some ways to reduce the bad breath –
(i) Floss Once a Day At Least – Floss at least once a day for removing the plaque and food particles
ii) Adjust Your Food Intake – You should avoid the foods causing bad breath like garlics and onions and also stay away from the sugary foods.
(iii) Brush After Eating – Brush the teeth after you eat and keep one toothbrush at work for using after eating for a thorough teeth cleaning. Also brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Bad breath is reduced when you use toothpastes that have anti-bacterial properties.
(iv) Brush Your Tongue – You should brush your tongue regularly as the tongue harbours bacteria.
(v) Avoid Dry Mouth – Avoid coffee, tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks and drink lots of water for keeping your mouth moist. You can also chew gums to produce saliva. Your dentist can also suggest some medications for chronic dry mouth.
(vi) Schedule Regular Appointments with the Dentist – You should see the dentist at least twice a year for having the teeth cleaned and examined along with the restorations.