What is bad breath and how to get rid of it
Bad breath, technically known as Halitosis is a term used to describe extremely unpleasant odours that are exhaled when a person breathes. It can have a negative impact on both an individual’s personal and social life and cause a great deal of embarrassment to the individual.
Known as the third most frequent reason for obtaining dental treatment, bad breath is a condition that many people deal with on a daily basis; the term ‘halitophobia’ is used to describe someone who fears that they have bad breath. This fear can cause people to suffer greatly when in social situations as they may wish to refrain from coming into close contact with another individual.
It’s thought that Americans spend an average of almost $3 billion a year on substances that claim to reduce bad breath. This may include products such as chewing gum, mints and mouth washes.
The oral causes of bad breath
Trapped Proteins – It can be said that there are a number of different causes of bad breath and while many of them are not entirely understood, there are a select few that have been highlighted by professionals. Proteins that have been trapped in the mouth that are then processed by oral bacteria are known to cause bad breath.
Unclean Tongue – Another common cause of bad breath is one’s tongue. The back of the tongue is known to be relatively dry and rarely properly cleaned and therefore large amounts of bacteria are often found there, resulting in bad breath.
Dry Mouth – “Dry mouth” is another known cause of bad breath especially during the night – which is why most people wake up with “morning breath” – the mouth is dry and inactive throughout the night as you’re obviously not going to be supplying your mouth with fluids while you’re asleep.
Bad breath is a very common occurrence in most people but if you’re particularly concerned about serious bad breath then you should contact your dentist or hygienist to try and determine the exact cause of it.
Treating bad breath
There are a number of methods that can be used to treat bad breath including tongue cleaning, removing gross tooth decay and repairing broken fillings.
In more severe cases of bad breath, it may be treated using scaling, deep cleaning or even antibiotics to treat bacteria. These treatments are designed to create a healthier oral environment and to significantly reduce bad bacteria that can cause bad breath.
If bad breath is thought to originate from the mouth then more intense treatments may be required. This could include the treatment of a decaying tooth or the treatment of a dry socket as a result of tooth extraction. Your dentist or periodontist (a specialist in gum disease) will be able to identify exactly what treatment you require.
Simple steps such as brushing your teeth twice a day, using mouth wash and visiting your dentist regularly can all help to keep bad breath at bay but in extreme cases you may need more serious treatments.