Hello Nigerians out there, Bad breath is real. Stop it before it stops you. Bad breath also called ‘Halitosis’ is a condition that many of us suffer from. When we emit an unpleasant odour from our mouths, it is said that we are suffering from “bad breath”.
It is believed to be the third most important reasons why people see a dentist worldwide. The other two main reasons are tooth decay and gum disease. Unfortunately people who have it may not know they have it until they are told and sometimes someone may claim to have it and yet does not have it.
Many a girl never finds out why her romances fizzle out. That’s because, much as they dislike oral offence, people just can’t bring themselves to tell a girl she is guilty of it. Someone needs to tell her but unfortunately nobody does.
Why must you stop it now?
It is one of the reasons people move away from you.
It is one of the reasons people sit away from you
It makes you look unattractive and unclean.
It’s the main reason why some people don’t fancy you when you talk
It hinders affectionate kissing – a veritable tool for good sexual intimacy
You tend to cover your mouth everywhere and unfortunately it makes the situation worse
It can ruin your relationship, as it often leads to separation & divorce
It can lead to psychological problem if not well handled.
Bad Breath! Do you know you have it?
How does it happen?
Generally speaking, most people have some degree of bad breath after a night’s sleep. This is normal and occurs because the mouth tends to get dried and saliva stagnate overnight. This usually clears when the flow of saliva increases soon after starting to eat breakfast.
-when you wake up in the morning, you would have bad breath though it is very minimal if you brushed before bed time the previous night.
-When you don’t talk for a long time, maybe while reading or working, your mouth smells when you open it afterwards
-When you fast or starve for a long period and you didn’t put anything in your mouth.
- Poor or fair oral hygiene
How poor oral hygiene can cause mouth odour can be seen in the following:
(i) In plaque & tartar, most cases the persistent smell comes from buildup of this bacteria within the mouth.
(ii) In gum disease, destructive effects of anaerobic bacteria cause offensive smell, also blood from gum disease may degenerate resulting in foul odour.
(iii) In food stagnation; normal tooth brushing without flossing may not clear bits of food which gets stuck between teeth. The food then rots and becomes riddled with bacteria
(iv) In poor tongue hygiene, the whitish/ yellowish coating on the back of the tongue which contains bacteria, due to lack of proper brushing explains why halitosis occur even in patients with good oral hygiene
(v) Decayed teeth and untreated infected teeth
(vi)In poorly fitting dental appliances and restorations from previous dental visits
REMEDY- Brushing twice a day with recommended toothpaste that contain fluoride and appropriate toothbrush, use floss regularly, cleaning your tongue with tongue brush. Good dental hygiene helps a lot to maintain clean teeth. Periodic teeth cleaning by a dentist. Get your decayed teeth filled; get your infected teeth treated and the gum becomes healthy again.
- Consumption of foods with strong odour
Onion, Garlic and Ginger are few of the commonest food ingredients that can cause bad breath. Upon absorption into the bloodstream, they reach the lungs and the odour is expelled out from the breath. Read ALSO KETOGENIC DIET ON THE TEETH
REMEDY- Reduce or avoid intake of such food at least during important interactions/ meetings. And if it becomes inevitable to consume them, brush immediately after consumption to reduce the smell
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
Saliva naturally rinses the mouth by neutralizing acids in the mouth produced by plaque and flushes out food deposits, washes away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. When there is absence of it or reduction in its flow, microbes goes unchecked and bad breath will be the result of their activities. Dry mouth is usually seen in salivary gland diseases, as side effects of certain medication or in people with continuous mouth breathing habit etc. Also in fasting / starvation– it is due to dryness of the mouth and breakdown of fat releasing ketones, resulting in ketogenic halitosis.
REMEDY- Visit the dental clinic, the cause can be removed, review of medications can be done, saliva stimulant may be introduced, and mouth rinses may be prescribed. Constant sipping of water keeps the mouth moist & maintain fresh breath, go for sugar-free gums which can help facilitate salivation and mask the bad breath
Tobacco in any form is one of the commonest reasons for bad breath as it starves the mouth of oxygen. It might as well induce dryness of the mouth further complicating the problem
REMEDY- Quit smoking as this is the only cure for mouth odour caused by smoking. Simple medical advice may not be enough for you to stop because it is difficult to stop, you may need specialist intervention to assist you.
- Alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption induces mouth dryness and hence often cause mouth odour on one hand. Moreso, the end products of alcohol get released from the lungs and add up to the bad smell from the mouth odour.
REMEDY- Limit the intake of alcoholic drinks and alcohol-based mouthwash.
- Medical conditions
(i) Respiratory diseases such as nose and sinus infections e.g. Sinusitis, nasal polyp (growth in nostril), foreign body in the nasal cavity (nose space), post nasal drip into the mouth (drip at the back of the nose). Also tonsillitis, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and tumors of the nasal tract are not left out. These conditions which often have accumulation of bacteria-filled fluid in the sinus and nose can also lead to halitosis. These respiratory conditions often come with thick saliva with a constant need to clear the throat, sore throat, bitter or metallic taste which are associated with the mouth odour.
(ii) Gastro esophageal reflux (iii) People suffering from uncontrolled Diabetes, severe kidney & liver diseases can also have mouth odour.
REMEDY – your dental surgeon can refer you to a general physician to attend to any underlying medical condition.
N.B There is also a condition called PSYCHOGENIC HALITOSIS in which patients complain of mouth odour because they think they have it, but in real sense do not have it. It can be attributed to some form of delusion or halitophobia. Such people often misinterpret other people’s behavior such as covering of nose and most of them lack confidence and self-esteem due to peoples’ reaction.They cover their mouths when talking, avoid or keep distance from people, avoid social situations, use chewing gums, mints, mouthwashes with no improvement, too frequent tooth-brushing (usually “over-brushing”). Thus their oral hygiene is superb.
REMEDY: medical help may be sort to manage these patients. A chat with the psychologist could help in cases where psychogenic halitosis is suspected.
Once the cause of BAD BREATH is known, it is already treated half way.
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