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Bad breath

Most people experience bad breath at some time. It may simply be ‘morning breath’ but can be a persistent chronic condition that affects a person’s everyday life and confidence. The clinical name for bad breath is halitosis and affects 50% of every one of us.

It is almost always caused initially by poor oral hygiene leading to a build up of excess bacteria in the mouth and which gives off smelly gases. Persistent bad breath is often a sign of gum disease. Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as onions and garlic, can cause your breath to smell unpleasant. Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol can also cause bad breath.

Occasionally, halitosis is the result of an infection or illness, or taking some kinds of medication. Contrary to popular belief the following do not usually contribute towards this problem: constipation, tonsils, gastro-intestinal problems and food.

Treating bad breath:

Keep your tongue clean. Gently brush it with a soft nylon toothbrush after you brush your teeth. Your dentist can advise you on how to improve your oral health.

Drink More Water! The drier your mouth, the worse your breath gets. Drink plenty of water when taking prescription medications as many of these medicines make your mouth extremely dry.

Keep Calm. Stress makes your breath worse! Avoid breath mints and/or gum that contains sugar. These actually make your breath worse.

Don’t try to kill the odour of bad breath with another odour. This is what some of the oral care companies would like you to believe works.

Blow your nose more often. Your breath gets worse when you have a cold, allergies, or post-nasal drip.

Don’t use mouthwash containing alcohol or toothpaste that has sodium lauryl sulfate. Do you have any idea how many oral care products contain these two ingredients? Here is a hint, just about all of them.

As I said before – stop smoking. It will give you bad breath in a nanosecond, but may only take 20 years to kill you!

The best way to eliminate and prevent bad breath is to use clinically proven oxygenating oral products.

Important things you may not know about bad breath:

In most cases (about 90%), bad breath comes from the mouth itself and bad breath rarely comes from the stomach.

Most people can smell other people’s breath, but have trouble smelling their own. So, if you think you have bad breath, you might or you might not. Bad taste is usually not a good indication. The best and simplest way to find out is to ask an adult in your family or a close friend.

The most common source of bad breath is the very back of the tongue. Food debris, dead cells and postnasal drip can accumulate there, and the breakdown of the proteins by the resident bacteria causes foul odour. The second most important cause is bacteria breaking down protein between your teeth. By the way, the gases and other molecules that the bacteria produce are toxic and can harm your gums as well. Two good reasons to floss every day (if you don’t believe me, smell the floss).

Bad breath usually increases when the mouth is dry. Chewing sugarless gum for 4-5 minutes at a time can be helpful.

The generalisation that mouth washes work for only a few minutes is wrong. Try gargling right before bedtime for best results. Using alcohol-free mouth rinses.

Eating a hearty and healthy breakfast cleans the mouth and back of the tongue and gets the saliva flowing.

Some people have experienced small crumbly ‘stones’ in their mouths that have a foul smell. These are called “tonsilloliths”. They are partially calcified, full of bacteria and develop in crypts in the tonsils. They smell pretty bad, but do not always cause bad breath. In the large majority of cases, bad breath can be dramatically improved or eliminated.

Children as young as two or three can have bad breath from postnasal drip, dental plaque and transient throat infections. However, if they develop sudden offensive odour that appears to come from all over their body, ask your physician to check whether they stuffed something up one of their nostrils!


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