There is nothing more isolating and embarrassing than having bad breath. It can stop you talking to people, socializing and may cause anxiety and depression in severe cases.
For some people, no amount of breath sprays and chewing gum seem to make a difference; mainly because these products do not tackle the root causes of bad breath. In fact in the case of gum and mints they actually add to the problem as the sugar in these products breaks down, causes tooth decay and creates even more bacteria in the mouth. So what actually causes bad breath, or halitosis as it is properly known?
Bad Breath Causes
Many of us have experienced temporary bad breath as a result of eating certain foods, such as garlic or onions! Unfortunately they cause bad breath as part of the natural break down of these foods into rather smelly molecules- some of which end up in our lungs and are exhaled as an unpleasant odour! There are old wives remedies for minimizing the smell of these foods but if you tend to have a strong bad breath reaction to them the only real solution is avoidance!
The majority of treatable bad breath is, simply put, a result of poor oral hygiene. In other words, you are not cleaning your teeth or mouth properly. Living inside your mouth are millions of bacteria both friendly and not so helpful. A favourite place for bacteria to lurk is at the back of the tongue- a place we often miss when cleaning our teeth. It is a good idea to use a tongue cleaner to reach these spots, see the blog post on the Tongue Sweeper for more information on this.
These bacteria are known as anaerobic (non-oxygen requiring) bacteria which flourish and grow in oxygen starved environments. Even thin layers of plaque can create this environment and as the bacteria grow they create waste in the form of sulphur compounds. If I say that sulphur smells like eggs, gone off, you know how unpleasant that is! These compounds are highly volatile, which means they evaporate rapidly and cause an unpleasant smell.
Bad breath can also be the result of gum disease, periodontal disease and cavities in the teeth. Again the bacteria have somewhere to hide and grow, between the teeth and gum line and within decaying teeth. Your oral hygiene routine has to be thorough to prevent these problems but if they already exist you are going to need to tackle them with additional action; brushing your teeth will not undo either.
Some people suffer other oral conditions such as persistently dry mouth- the chronic version of this is known as xerostomia and that can lead to bad breath. The mouth has a natural defence mechanism in saliva, so lack of saliva means the bacteria and waste products are not being washed away.
Whatever your cause of bad breath it is a sign that all is not well in your mouth and you need to treat the causes not just the symptoms. Sucking on mints and chewing gum may mask the bad breath temporarily but will not deal with the causes and will not return your mouth to good health.
Bad Breath: Treatments
If your bad breath is a result of eating strong flavoured foods, the enzymes in the stomach will eventually break these down and the waste and smell will dissipate. Non-medical advice suggest eating cheese or parsley after garlic for example which may work for some. However, if your body seems to react badly to these foods, the only absolute solution is to avoid them.
You should always start with good oral hygiene and this is true whether you have bad breath or not! This means a regular and thorough brushing routine at least twice a day; after meals additionally is the ideal. Use the tongue sweeper to clean your tongue, floss between your teeth and use a good toothbrush and toothpaste.
There are a variety of additional treatments that will balance the bacteria make-up of your mouth; neutralising the bad and increasing the good which helps with long term oral health. For quick and easily results consider investing in a Bad Breath System which is specifically designed to help combat bad breath and halitosis.
Once you know about the ins and outs of bad breath feel free to browse our articles for more detailed information or visit our website at Whiter Smile.
Whiter Smile has been Australia's largest and most trusted teeth whitening and oral hygiene online store since opening shop in 2005, stocking an authoritative selection of only the best and most effective products in the world.