What is Halitosis (Bad Breath)?
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is an embarrassing health condition that affects approximately 30% of people around the world. Additional medical terms for this condition include stomatodysodia, fetor oris, and ozostomia.
Regardless of the term used, this is the presence of a foul-smelling odor that seems to come from the mouth cavity. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, in more than 90% of cases, the odor originates in the mouth, throat, and tonsils.
Although this is something everyone experiences at one time or another, if your case does not improve after brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with an alcohol free mouthwash, it may be chronic.
What causes bad breath?
There are a number of things that can cause bad breath. It’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene. If bacteria build up in your mouth, the toxins produced can cause your breath to smell.
The foul oral odor is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulfur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area. The term “anaerobic” literally means living without oxygen, and in fact, these bacteria do not require oxygen to live.
They occur naturally in the oral environment and are essential because they assist in digestion by breaking down proteins into amino acids. Proteins are commonly found in food, mucus or phlegm, blood, and in diseased oral tissue.
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Bacteria break down pieces of food in the mouth, and may release an unpleasant-smelling gas. Any food trapped on your teeth – particularly between them – is broken down by bacteria, which may cause bad breath.
As these bacteria feast on proteins in your mouth, sulfur compounds are released from the back of your tongue and throat. The bacteria excrete waste as hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and other odorous and bad tasting compounds known as volatile sulfur compounds.
As long as the anaerobic bacteria feed on proteins and excrete volatile sulfur compounds unchecked, your breath will become worse and worse.
Bad Breath Symptoms
Bad breath odors vary, depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm your bad-breath questions.
How To Prevent Bad Breath
The most important prevention method to avoid having a bad breath is to Watch What You Eat. What you eat affects what you exhale. That’s because as food is digested, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and then is expelled by your lungs when you breathe. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and regular meals. Certain diets — such as extreme fasting and very low-carb diets — can give you bad-smelling breath.
“Consider snacking on raw carrots, celery, or apple slices. “It’s good to have a nice watery vegetable in there – something like celery – that will help clear your mouth of debris,” Frangella says.
“Avoid breath busters such as garlic, onions, and some other spicy foods. Chronic garlic users cannot only have chronic bad breath, they also often have body odor,” Woodall says.
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Here are six more ways on how to prevent Bad Breath
1. Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid Sugary Drinks
2. Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. Consider switching to an herbal or green tea.
3. Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. “Smoking can give people horrible breath,”
4. Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.
5. Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, but it’s also “kind of cooling and gives you really nice fresh breath,”
6. Be careful with breath mints. Sugar-free mints are OK for a quick fix but only mask the offensive smell and don’t do anything to remove harmful bad bacteria. Tempted to pick up a sugary mint as you leave your favorite restaurant? Don’t. The sugar will only sit on your teeth and make the problem worse, Frangella says.
How To Treat Bad Breath – Bad Breath Home Remedies