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Chronic Halitosis: Causes, Treatments & Prevention

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Bad Breath or Halitosis
Bad Breath or Halitosis

Bad breath or halitosis affects an estimated 25 percent population in the world. Which means, one in every four people is plagued by the problem of bad breath making it one of most common oral problems. Even if bad breath is not dangerous, it often causes embarrassment to the person suffering and to those who come with contact with the sufferer.

Oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis, so this problem is entirely preventable. If you are regular with brushing, flossing and hydration, bad breath may go away over time. Lifestyle changes can also help where you quit smoking, stay away from tobacco products and take your oral health seriously. If your mouth, teeth and tongue are clean, halitosis will stay away forever.

If the problem however persists, it’s always better to consult the dentist and get it treated. Because in some cases, bad breath may also occur due to some underlying medical conditions or use of prescribed medications. Only the dentist can tell the exact reason behind your halitosis.  

Bad Breath Causes

Bad breath is a kind of oral problem for which only the sufferer is responsible in the majority of case. It occurs to only those who are bad at oral care or who don’t lead a right lifestyle in terms of food choices and habits. It is entirely preventable if you know its causes. Causes of bad breath include –

  • Use of tobacco in any form leads to mouth odour, and it may also cause gum disease which is one of the reasons of bad breath.
  • Food particles stuck in the mouth or between the teeth can break down and invite bacteria leading to a foul smell.
  • Certain foods such as garlic and onions can also cause bad breath but of a temporary nature.
  • Dry mouth can lead to bad odour in the mouth as the dryness means saliva will be less in the oral cavity and foods can’t be washed away leading to smell.
  • Poor oral hygiene leading to the formation of plaque which can cause gums problems resulting in bad breath.
  • Not cleaning dentures properly and regularly may invite bacteria that cause halitosis.
  • Crash diets involving low-carb items and regular fasting produce ketones which have smells so that it can lead to bad breath.
  • Infections or inflammation in the sinuses, nose and throat can also cause bad breath problem.

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Bad Breath Treatment

Treatment for bad breath is natural if you approach the dentist in a timely manner. In most cases, the dentist will not treat the problem directly but give treatment for the causes. The treatment may include –

  • Good oral hygiene is easily the best method to reduce halitosis.
  • With proper oral care, cavities can be avoided, and gum diseases can be kept away to remain free of bad breath problem.
  • A dental visit twice a year for check-up and cleaning can help maintain better oral health and avoid halitosis problem.
  • The dentist can recommend a toothpaste containing antibacterial ingredients to remove bad breath.
  • Using a dentist-prescribed antibacterial mouthwash regularly can keep in check the problem of bad breath.
  • If gum disease is the reason behind halitosis, the dentist will first do professional cleaning to remove the problem from the root.
Bad Breath or Halitosis
Bad Breath or Halitosis

Bad Breath Prevention

Bad breath is easy to prevent if you improve oral care and be a bit more careful with your habits, foods and lifestyle. The prevention may include –

  • Practising good oral hygiene can help prevent bad breath problem.
  • Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste can help remove food particles and plaque to keep the mouth free of odour-causing bacteria.
  • Brushing after every meal can help keep bacteria away and prevent the build-up of plaque.
  • Clean the tongue daily as the surface is where the maximum bacteria live.
  • Floss the teeth to take out foods, plaque and bacteria stuck between the teeth.
  • Rinse the mouth at least twice a day with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them at night and clean them properly before using them again the next day.
  • Visit the dentist regularly, go for an oral exam and if need be, get teeth cleaning to avoid gum diseases and other problems responsible for bad breath.
  • Drinks lots of water to stay hydrated as when your mouth is not dry, more saliva is produced to keep away foods and bacteria forever.
  • Stay away from tobacco products and quit smoking as these habits are one of the major causes of bad breath.
  • Eat a balanced diet, avoid excessive sugar as they can lead to the growth of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Avoid acidic drinks like tea, coffee, soda, wine, fruit juices etc.

Quite clearly, bad breath is not a problem to feel bad about as with little care, you can prevent it completely. You can consult the dentist for tooth cavity treatment as this will also help to avoid halitosis to some extent.

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