BAD BREATH – SIGN, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, CURE, TREATMENT AND HOME REMEDIES
Bad Breath is defined as an unpleasant smell in the breath which is detectable by other people. Also commonly known as Halitosis.
How to know if you are having a bad breath/halitosis?
There are following 4 ways to detect bad breath
Method 1- smelling your saliva
Lick the inside of your wrist and wait for 5-10 seconds for saliva to dry and then smell. This is more or less what your breath smells like. How does it smell?
If this is unpleasant, then you need to improve your oral hygiene and visit your dentist. If it doesn’t smell like anything then your breath is probably not that bad but you need to try another test for confirmation.
Avoid doing this bad breath/halitosis detection test just after brushing or just after eating something minty, as it will give you false results.
Method 2-smell your breath directly
Place your hands on the mouth and nose. Breathe out slowly through your mouth and then smell quickly. How does your breath smell?
If this is unpleasant then you need to improve your oral hygiene and visit your dentist. If this doesn’t smell like anything, then your breath is probably not that bad but there are chances that air can leak through your fingers, in that case, results may false.
Method 3- breathe into a clean plastic cup
Cover your mouth and nose with the clean plastic cup. Breathe out in the cup through your mouth and smell through your nose. How does it smell?
If it smells unpleasant then you have bad breath/halitosis and need to take care of your oral hygiene and visit your dentist.
Method 4- asking someone
You can ask your trusted close friend/family member whether you have bad breath/halitosis or not. But don’t just breathe on someone`s face directly and ask do i have bad breath/halitosis. if you spend some time in close contact with a person, they may have noticed it if you are having bad breath/halitosis or not.
What is normal? Is it normal to have bad breath?
It is normal to have bad breath/halitosis in the morning or after eating onion/garlic/spices/alcohol/smoking. Besides these situations, if you have a bad breath/halitosis, there may be a problem causing it.
CAUSES OF BAD BREATH/HALITOSIS
1. Poor oral hygiene
Mostly bad breath/halitosis is associated with problems in your mouth. Plaque builds up on your teeth causes bad breath and gum diseases. If left untreated it can damage the gums, jaw bone and ultimately will lead to loose teeth.
these include dental caries, dental abscess, tooth infection, dry mouth, food lodgement, poorly fitting dental appliance, not cleaning your dentures properly. Sometimes wearing braces also causes food lodgment between teeth and wire which is difficult to clean and can lead to bad breath.
3. Illness and disease
chronic sinus infection, tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder, diabetes, kidney or liver problems can cause bad breath.
some like nitrates, tranquilizers, chemo drugs can cause halitosis.
certain food like onion, garlic, spices, cause bad breath/halitosis. After digestion these food enter the blood stream and carried to the lungs and affect the breath.
Treatment for bad breath.
- Brushing twice daily with soft bristled tooth brush. Replace your tooth brush every 2-3 months or after illness.
- Make sure to clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner after brushing.
- Use floss or inter dental brushes to remove food particles and plaque in between the teeth.
- Use antiseptic mouthwash to kill harmful oral bacteria. Avoid alcohol based mouth wash.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for general dental check up.
- Stop smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist and prevent dry mouth and will also help in flushing out the food and promotes salivary secretion.
- Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables. It helps prevent halitosis/ bad breath.
- Avoid eating processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies.
- Use mouth wash after eating onion, garlic, meat, fish, or dairy products.
- Breathe through your nose.
- Keep your nasal passage clean and healthy. Allergies, sinus infection can cause bad breath / halitosis so visit your doctor for the treatment.
- Talk to your doctor about gastrointestinal problems if any.
- Clean your denture before placing in the mouth. Denture should be removed at night.
Will I need any test/ professional check up?
Your dentist will thoroughly examine your oral cavity and will look out if bad breath is due to dental reason or not. If no cause is found then you will need a further test or a visit to your physician.