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Halitosis, simply known as bad breath, is a common symptom, which affects approximately from 20 to 25% people worldwide in some degree. It is not only a medical condition, but also a social problem. Bad breath is considered by many as a taboo subject and often leads to psychological distress or simple embarrassment. In majority of the incidents, halitosis appear as a result of improper oral hygiene, smoking or tooth decay. It is also one of the most common reason, that force people to visit a dentist. Fortunately, halitosis can be eradicated by making simple lifestyle adjustments. Their purpose is to improve dental hygiene and increase mouth hydration.
Possible causes of bad breath
Human oral cavity is full of different bacterial species, whose major task is to begin digestive process of certain substances present in food. Without proper oral hygiene, food particles remain intact between teeth or around gums. That is why the number of bacteria greatly increase and further leads to a bad breath. Bad hygiene of oral cavity is the most common cause of halitosis, accounting for up to 9 out of 10 cases.
Other possible causes of halitosis, excluding bad oral hygiene, are for instance:
- Eating certain types of food, such as onion, garlic or cheese.
- Cigarette smoke, which not only results in bad breath, but may also cause periodontal disease.
- Mouth dryness
- Tooth decay
- Alcohol overuse
- Medical conditions, such as liver or kidney disorder, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease and respiratory tract infections.
- Use of certain medications, such as atropine, antidepressants or diuretics, which can cause mouth dryness. They can also generate the odor themselves, since they release chemical compounds during their breakdown in mouth.
Bad breath can be eradicated by making certain lifestyle adjustments. In most cases, simple home remedies are enough to treat this ailment. The most effective method include improving oral hygiene. It is highly recommended to brush teeth with antibacterial toothpaste minimum twice a day and preferably after each meal. The use of dental floss is also beneficial, since it is the only truly effective method to clean areas between teeth, where the brush cannot reach. There are plenty of bacteria on the tongue and gums as well, that is why those areas need to be cleaned at least once a day, with the help of either specially designed tongue brush or by using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Other useful advices include:
- Drinking a lot of fluids in order to keep mouth hydrated
- Avoiding dehydrating substances, like alcohol or caffeine.
- Avoiding unnecessary medications, which can result in decreased saliva production. However, if their intake cannot be stopped, one can ask a doctor about possible drug replacement.
- Changing a diet, in order to get rid of products like onion, garlic or cheese from the everyday meals.
- Limiting smoking or its full cessation
If the home remedies are not effective, bad breath can be treated by a dentist in most of the cases. The specialist can also point out possible lifestyle mistakes, which need to be eliminated in order to avoid halitosis. Nevertheless, this unpleasant ailment may also appear as a consequence of more serious disease. In those cases, taking care of bad breath alone is pointless, since treatment needs to be adjusted accordingly to an underlying disease. Regardless of current health status, age and presence of bad breath, it is highly recommended to visit a dentist at least twice a year. Regular inspections will greatly reduce the risk of halitosis development.