The Art of Mastering Health

Causes of Halitosis (Bad Breath) and Tips for Avoiding It

Halitosis is a condition characterized by a foul smell originating in the mouth. In short, bad breath, and there can be a variety of causes. In any case, you need to cure it if you have it, not only to save you from embarrassment, but also to protect your body against a potential health issue that may for now be manifesting halitosis.

The Tongue

About 90% of bad breath-causing bacteria live on the tongue. Particularly, these germs may be all over those tiny papillae, thus causing halitosis. Give your tongue a long, hard look in the mirror. If you see some kind of coating, then you likely have bad breath. When brushing, people sometimes just focus on their teeth and ignore their tongue, which also needs regular cleaning. A tongue scraper works better though (instead of a toothbrush) to get rid of the coating, which is practically a combination of food bits, bacteria and dead cells.

Throat Issues

The offensive odor from the mouth could also be come from the throat. A common throat condition that brings bad breath is tonsillitis – when tonsils are infected and there are tonsil stones, halitosis results. Respiratory tract infections of any kind can cause this condition too, such as pneumonia, chronic sinus infections and even chronic acid reflux, to name a few.

Gastrointestinal Causes

Halitosis can also originate in the GI system. In people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acids – which may come with bile and undigested food – go back up to the esophagus, leading to bad breath. Vomiting that causes dehydration also leads to bad breath because of mouth dryness. One of the functions of saliva is lubricating the mouth and flushing away bacteria as well as food bits.

Dental Issues

Halitosis can result from dental problems like gum disease and dental cavities too. So if you’re dealing with any of those issues, you should have it taken care of by your dentist before it gives you bad breath, if it hasn’t already. Yes, it could be a dental issue, but it could also be something else entirely. If your dentist suspects it is beyond dentistry, they will make recommendations as needed.

Basic Tips for Avoiding or Curing Bad Breath

– Drink a lot of water everyday (a dry mouth breeds bad breath). – Before going to sleep every night, be sure to remove your dentures and clean them thoroughly. – Make it a point to brush your teeth twice and to floss everyday. – Schedule regular dental appointments (for basic cleaning and checkup). – Avoid tobacco and foods that leave a bad smell in the mouth, like raw garlic and onions. – Have more fennel seeds, aniseeds and cloves in your diet for their antiseptic benefits; and fresh herbs, such as mint and parsley, for their ability to neutralize odors.

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