Halitosis

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Bad breath is a result of poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can be so embarrassing in some cases that it may even cause anxiety.

Underlying Causes of Bad Breath

Poor dental hygiene: When one doesn’t clean teeth, gums, and tongue each day, bad breath may result from remaining bits of rotting food and the growth of bacteria in your mouth.

Foods and beverages: Food we eat or drink may cause halitosis e.g. garlic, cheese, onion, alcohol, certain spices, tobacco products.

Medications: Certain medicines and medical conditions may induce halitosis.

Bacterial Infection: Generally bad breath comes from the gums and tongue. Bacteria in mouth may produce compounds that result in an odor.

Dry Mouth: Also called xerostomia. For some people, a dry mouth causes bad breath. Dry mouth can result from taking medicine for allergy or a cold, or from antidepressants.

Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.

Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.

Health Problems and Bad Breath

Many diseases may cause bad breath. Here are some of the common ones: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnatal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems. Other dental causes of bad breath include yeast infection, dry mouth, gum disease, salivary gland problems. Sometimes bad breath can signal a larger health problem, such as:

*     Sinus infection

*     Chronic lung infection

*     Liver or kidney disease

*     Gastrointestinal problems

*     Diabetes

Therefore do consult the doctor if halitosis prevails for longer duration of time.

Treatment and prevention of Bad Breath

There are a number of simple things you can try to get rid of bad breath.

Change what you eat and drink: Keep track of the foods you eat and try to:

*     Avoid foods and beverages that cause bad breath.

*     Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less meat.

*     Drink more water

Brush and floss more frequently: One of the prime causes of bad breath is plaque, the sticky build up in your mouth that harbors bacteria. If you’re concerned about your breath, brush and floss a little more often. Brushing too aggressively can wear down enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.

Treatment of dental disease: If you are suffering from some gum disease, then consult the doctor and get the recommended treatment done.

Suck on sugar-free mints if your mouth tends to get dry.

Avoid Tobacco

Avoid foods that sour your breath: Onions and garlic are the prime offenders. Unfortunately, brushing after you eat them doesn’t help much.

Scrape your tongue

Home remedies: Cloves are rich in eugenol, a potent antibacterial. The pungent aromatic oil may burn slightly, so keep that spicy nub moving. Chew on fennel, dill, cardamom, or anise seeds. Anise, which tastes like black licorice, can kill the bacteria that grow on the tongue. The others can help mask the odour of halitosis.

Follow good healthy dental practice to maintain oral hygiene. Even as parents, try to inculcate this habit in your children who are prone to develop dental disease if not taken care properly.

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