Breath Malodor- Causes, Symptoms & How to get Rid of it
Breath Malodor also known as Halitosis or Bad Breath is a subjective perception. It is decided by someone who is in contact with you. When others notice a foul smell while you talk will make them keep their distance. Affecting every 1 in 4 person globally, it can cause psychological distress and lower self esteem. So we can safely say that it is not attractive.
Now, how to save yourself from this situation. Let us together get our facts straight and know more about bad breath.
It can be physiological or pathological.
- Physiological bad breath is due to eating food items containing garlic, onion, or certain spices in them. Smoking, tobacco products, few medications can also cause it. Same is with morning bad breath which spontaneously disappears after breakfast or tooth brushing. This condition can be avoided if we stay away from them.
- On the other hand, Pathological bad breath occurs because of an underlying health condition. It can be a simple dental or gut problem or can be as severe as diabetes. In any case visit your dentist and check out the issue.
What causes Breath Malodor?
- Inflamed gums, plaque build up or just not taking care of your oral hygiene can be causing your breath problem. Not using enough toothpaste while brushing or gut problems like acidity or gastric gas issues can also trigger breath malodor.
- Halitosis can be oral or tongue related. Majority of it originates from your mouth. But keeping your tongue clean is also very essential. Often times you forget cleaning your tongue and food sticks here easily. Acting as a petri dish, it forms a thin film & traps the bacteria. They then form sulfur compounds which produce bad breath.
- Hidden systemic diseases can also lead to breath malodor. Diabetes, ear and throat infections, nose congestion, allergy, sinus infections, tonsillitis etc., can be the origin of it. Pay a visit to your nearest clinic to diagnose yourself properly.
- Tooth problems like deep caries or broken untreated teeth with food impaction can accumulate debris and lead to bad breath. In cases with Dry mouth or xerostomia, when there is decrease saliva production, the plaque forming capacity accelerates. Saliva has cleaning and buffering actions, when in lower quantity will decrease the oral ph. and form caries & extensive tongue coating.
How to get rid of Breath malodor?
Treatment of bad breath is preferably cause related. So, as soon as the origin of it is known you can tackle this issue. Here are a couple of things that you simply can try.
1. Mask the Odor :
Use mouthwash, mouth spray, lozenges or unsweetened chewing gums. This will provide you with temporary and short term effects. Mint and cloves also comes to your rescue. Chew one or two clove buds and a few mint leaves for your remedy. Mouthwashes like Listerine or Colgate provides aroma without the anti bacterial or staining component.
2. Lifestyle Changes :
- Drink 8 ounces or more of water everyday. Try lemon or watermelon juice too.
- Brush twice daily. And make sure to change your tooth brushes every 3 months.
- Maintain a good oral hygiene.
- Use tongue cleaners & replace them every 2 weeks.
- Floss every night.
- Introduce complex carbs in your diet. Like jowar, bajra, maize, ragi etc.
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Avoid eating spicy food & acidic drinks like coffee.
- Schedule regular dental visits.
3. Clean your tongue :
Scrape your tongue with a metal tongue cleaner everyday twice with brushing. You tend to ignore this and can be the actual reason of your bad breath. Gagging while tongue cleaning might sound gross, but is actually therapeutic. Best to clean the tongue as posterior as possible. Moreover it will improve also your taste sensation.
4. Oil Pulling :
Its an age old technique associated with traditional ayurvedic medicine. It can reduce harmful bacteria and help lower your breath malodor. You can use 100% virgin coconut or sesame, sunflower oil for this procedure. Take 1 tbsp. of any of the above oil, put it in your mouth & swirl it around for 5min and then spit it out. Do this thrice a week, start with 5mins and you can go up to 20 mins. More importantly it reduces plaque formation, inflammation and improves gum health.
5. Chlorhexidine vs Breath Malodor :
0.12% Chlorhexidine(CHX) mouthwash is the most effective anti plaque agent. This will kill the bacteria and substantially decrease malodor. Mouth rinses with essential oils like Listerine, are moderately effective against bad breath. And Triclosan is a broad spectrum anti microbial agent used in toothpastes, will help you get rid of the most stubborn bacteria. Although CHX is the gold standard, you should use it for not more than 2weeks in 0.12% concentration only.
6. Say NO to Tobacco :
Tobacco can leave chemicals in your mouth which will make your breath smell bad. Therefore quit any form of tobacco including cigarettes’, chewing snuff, paan, hookah, bidi, cigars etc., If it seems impossible for you to quit then visit your dentist and with his help, go for therapy and intervention.
7. Avoid Dry Fruits :
Dried fruits like dates, raisins, apricots or prunes are loaded with sugar. Firstly they are chewy, sticky and tend to get jammed in places that are hard to reach. Secondly this will attract bacteria and cause caries, sensitive teeth and halitosis. If you cant resist your love for them, then make sure to brush after having these tasty delights.
8. Fillings & Dentures :
Dental fillings and cracked teeth might cause secondary caries as with time there is minute leakage from the crevices. If you have any Removable dentures make sure that they fit you properly and you must clean them regularly. Take off your denture at night before sleeping. Don’t neglect your soft tissues, take a gauze and clean them everyday after brushing. You can also massage your gums to increase blood flow and reduce bad breath.
In conclusion, Bad breath is still considered as a taboo. It affects 50% of the general population and is a socio economic issue. It is a common complaint & can lead to social embarrassment. Not just that it can also be an indication to any systemic disease. Try making these lifestyle changes and if the breath malodor persists then immediately seek help from your dentist.
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