Bad breath, or halitosis, is something we are all afraid to have; and if we do, it’s really hard to tell. In fact, research-wise, it’s always been difficult to tell just how many patients suffer from bad breath, people just aren’t aware of it, and others usually don’t tell them.
Do you have bad breath? The best way to tell, is to ask someone you trust directly; but if that’s not possible, you might be able to tell if something is wrong by smelling your toothbrush or you dental floss after you’ve used it; if it smells bad, then you should probably be worried.
But, what causes halitosis? And what can we do to fix it or prevent it?
Bacteria derived halitosis
Bacteria accounts for 80% of halitosis cases; bacteria eats away food residue and grows inside the mouth cavity; aside from bad breath they are also the main cause of inflammations, cavities and infections. While having a good oral hygiene and brushing at least twice a day is a good habit, it will not always prevent this condition. There are many reasons why bacteria may grow inside the mouth even when you brush rigorously.
Perhaps the most common example is the lack of saliva, as I’ve said before, saliva is the body’s natural way of disposing food residue and killing bacteria. Certain medications or problems with the saliva gland may inhibit saliva production, which in turns lead to a higher bacteria count. If that’s the case, eating sugar-free candy is an excellent way to force the body to create saliva, in the worst case scenario; the patient may need to use artificial saliva to compensate.
Diet and halitosis
What we eat (or what we don’t eat) is also to blame for halitosis. We all known what happens when we eat onions or garlic; and to make matters worse, the odor doesn’t go away when you brush, you just mask it. The only thing we can do is wait for the body to naturally get rid of the mercaptans.
On the other hand, not eating enough food may also cause halitosis, for example, avoiding carbohydrates altogether. In either case, when we change the way we eat, the symptons reside naturally
Stomach conditions are another cause of halitosis, if you are experiencing reflux, then it might be a good idea to check what your breath smells like, in these cases, once you treat the source of the reflux, the bad breath will also disappear.