Causes and Solutions for Bad Odour of Mouth
Not feeling so-fresh while on a date, at job interview or just while talking to friends and family? Bad breath or halitosis is a common oral problem suffered by majority of the people. It can occur due to several reasons and it can be treated accordingly.
Causes for bad breath ?
- Poor oral hygiene: A key factor for multiplication of bad breath causative bacteria and causes an increase in bad odour. Inadequate brushing, interdental cleaning causes poor oral hygiene. Accumulation of food debris and dental plaque can further lead to formation of dental calculus, all of which are predisposing factors for gingival and periodontal diseases. Bad breath is very common feature of periodontal disease.
- Eating food with strong odour: Foods like onion, garlic, tuna, horse radish, milk and cheese, peanut butter, coffee and alcohol, chewing tobacco are common causes.
- Tongue coating: Bacterial coat on tongue and volatile sulfar compounds released by decomposition of substances retained on tongue surface can lead to bad breath. The dorsum of the tongue is extensive and irregular, with cracks and structures capable of retaining considerable amounts of substrates (dead leukocytes, shed epithelial cells), and it is an ideal site for the growth of microorganisms.
- Dry mouth: It is also called as Xerostomia. Are you experiencing bad breath when you wake up in the morning? It is a natural, because during sleep salivary flow reduces leading to dry mouth. As there is no flushing away of debris present within mouth, it leads to bad breath when you wake up. However there are several other reasons for dry mouth. It can be due to habits like mouth breathing and even smoking. There are certain medications that can lead to dry mouth like antidepressants, antipsychotics, diuretic and antihypertensives. Diseases like diabetes, sjogren syndrome also causes dry mouth.
- Extra oral reasons: Respiratory system problems, gastrointestinal disease, hepatic disease, hematological or endocrine system disorders and metabolic conditions can all be the causes of halitosis.
Tests for bad breath
How do you know if you have bad breath ? There are certain simple steps to assess bad breath.
- Floss test: Take dental floss and slide it between your teeth carefully without hurting your gums. Floss the area and smell the floss from a little distance.
- Wrist test: This is another simple method done by licking your wrist and smelling it from a little distance.
- Spoon test: Take a spoon and scrape your tongue gently. Smell the spoon from a little distance and assess the smell.
- Get someone else’s opinion: It may be embarrassing and hesitating to ask another person regarding your bad breath. But you can always approach your near and dear one’s to assess it for you.
Management of bad breath
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Brushing twice daily with right technique, interdental cleaning with interdental brush are very important to halt plaque build-up. Using right toothbrush and interdental aid is also key factor for efficient cleaning. Your dentist can guide you in using right oral hygiene aid and techniques.
- Drink plenty of water: Sipping water frequently can alleviate dry mouth. Water can also flush out food debris and prevent accumulation.
- Oral probiotics: Researches have shown that the best way to get rid of offensive breath is to focus on colonizing the mouth with good bacteria. Oral probiotics are effective in reducing the bacterial growth that is associated with halitosis. However, children, pregnant and lactating women shouldn’t take oral probiotics without consent from the doctor.
- Pop a chewing gum/ Natural products: Poping a sugar free chewing gum. The physical act of chewing increases salivary flow in the mouth; if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth. Other natural products like green tea, spearmint, cinnamon, fruits and vegetables like apples, orange, melons, berries, pears, celery, carrots and cucumbers can also help in alleviating bad odour of mouth.
- Quit smoking, tobacco use, limit alcohol: Tobacco in any form is harmful. Not only bad breath, tobacco has several ill effects on oral and general health. Take necessary guidance from dentist and make quit plan. This applies for alcohol intake as well.
- Meet your dentist: Even though you follow oral hygiene measures and good diet, there may be situation where you are not able to find solution for bad breath. Not all the areas in mouth may be accessible for you to clean or may be your dexterity limits the cleaning efficiency. It requires regular professional cleaning/ scaling to maintain gum health and thereby can reduce bad breath. Meet your dentist at least once in 6 months for scaling/ cleaning of your teeth. Those with diabetes and other illness must visit once in 3 months and get evaluated.
Bad breath is treatable. Don’t lose your heart and get disappointed. Meet your dentist and there lies solutions for all your oral health issues and bad breath per se. Bad breath can hinder social life and make on feel inferior. But it is preventable and treatable too.