What is Bad Breath?
Halitosis, (that is the professional term for bad breath), is an embarrassing but (unfortunately) very common problem. Over the ages people have been inventing and using various tricks to suppress, such as chewing aromatic herb leaves and seeds, mint, chewinggums, sprays and mouthwashes. It is said that only Americans spend billions of dollars annually on such products just to get a temporary relief.
Bad breath can also be experienced temporarily; in which case it may go away in a fraction of a day as soon as the causative agent is removed. But if it persists for days its root cause must be found and treated to avoid any embarrassment.
What Causes Bad Breath?
- Gastric disorders can lead to temporary bad odor.
- Dental Causes – The cause of bad breath may liemost commonly, in the mouth itself. In the mouth, it can come from diseased gums and between the teeth where remnants of food particles are decomposed by bacteria. Quite often it can come from the back of the tongue wherebacteria can flourish food remnants, post nasal mucous drip, and dead cells, decompose them, and give rise to volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs). These sulphur compounds smell like rotten eggs. Good oral hygiene will normally minimize these causes (except post nasal mucous discharge), reduce chances of bad breath.
- Habits– Habitual drinking and smoking, eating garlic, etc., can also cause bad breath.
- Health conditionslikebronchial or sinus infection, oral yeast, (possibly due to antibiotic use), or other systemic diseases like diabetes, kidney malfunction, liver malfunction etc.
- Chronic xerostomia (dry mouth) can also result in bad breath.
- Rare causes include stress and even hormonal changes.
How can a Dentist Help?
As the cause of persistent bad breath lies most commonly in the mouth, that is the place where investigation should start. Your dentist is the best bet if you want to eliminate this undesirable condition. After a thorough examination your dentist could recommend one or more of the following courses of action:
- Oral hygiene education.If your dentist feels that the cause of your bad breath is poor oral hygiene, you will be taught about better ways of more effective oral hygiene maintenance. This may include various demonstrations regarding the optimal brushing and flossing technique, orhow clean your dentures. Your dentist may also give you advice regarding the use of a tongue scraper to clean the back of your Despite tongue.
- Professional dental cleaning.Despite your best efforts towards oral hygiene, certain difficult to reach areas of your oral cavity can accumulate plaque which may get hardened over time and cause bad odor. The dentist will be able to clean up these using his special instruments and his skills.
- Treatment of tooth decay.Large, open cavities can hold food particles which decay and cause bad odor. These can be filled up by the dentist.
- Treatment of gum disease.Advanced stage called advanced periodontal disease causes separation of gum from the teeth. The pockets so formed are a heaven for bacteria. The dentist can do a deep cleaning under gum, smooth the exposed root surface, and may even give you antibiotic treatment to supplement the surgery.
- Treatment of infection outside the mouth.In case the cause of bad odor does not lie in the mouth the dentist will be able to refer you to the appropriate specialist.
The most common reason for bad breath is poor oral hygiene maintenance. If you don’t want people to avoid you because of the foul breath, you should start looking after your oral health right from today!