Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a major problem and quite disturbing when speaking with friends or giving a kiss to your beloved one. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition.
But we have good news: halitosis can often be prevented with some simple steps.
Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.
There are five major causes of bad breath:
1.Poor oral hygiene: neglecting daily brushing and flossing of teeth results in bad breath and decay of teeth 2. Dry mouth: when the body does not produce enough saliva that helps moisten and cleanse the mouth 3. Health problems like diabetes, stomach and kidney disease, acid reflux 4. Mouth infections: cavities, gum disease (also called gingivitis and periodontal disease), or impacted teeth may cause bad breath 5. Tobacco products: smoking and chewing tobacco often leave chemicals that remain in the mouth
The function of bacteria in the mouth
Bacteria on the surface of the tongue convert amino acids forming proteins into sulfur compounds, during the process of digestion. It may cause bad breath. After consuming high protein foods, there is a greater chance of bad breath. The growth of bacteria is promoted by dead cells, scrapings, and insufficient salivation in the oral cavity, that lead to halitosis.
How to diagnose bad breath?
It may often occur, that the patient is so accustomed to his own odor, that he/she does not notice bad breath. The diagnosis of chronic halitosis can be set up using a so-called halimeter. The halimeter measures the concentration of sulfide molecules in exhaled air and saliva. The measurement lasts for less than a minute, which must be repeated three times.
How can be bad breath treated?
Depending on the cause treatment of bad breath varies:
Brush twice and floss teeth daily. Remember to brush the tongue, too. See a dentist regularly (minimum once a year) where the dentist check your mouth, teeth, tongue and provide mouth cancer screening. Have your plaque removed at least once – or often if indicated by dental hygienist or dentist – a year. Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco. Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.
For more facts on bad breath read this infographic: