Halitosis, or bad breath can affect a person’s self-confidence, self-esteem and can be downright embarrassing.
Because most people are accustomed to their own smell, it could be difficult to tell if you have bad breath without someone else’s help. Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are usually the cause of bad breath, which are created when you eat and chew food, when proteins are broken down into amino acids, an important step in digestion. When these compounds are not removed from the oral cavity through proper oral hygiene (brushing and flossing after every meal), bad breath results. Most offending particulates that cause bad breath live on the back of your tongue. Your dentist can use a tool called a halimeter to measure the sulfur levels in your mouth. Bad habits such as drinking or smoking can also cause bad breath, and the offending odor usually lingers long after the cigarette or drink has been consumed. Dry mouth loosening the self-cleansing saliva can also contribute to an odorous mouth.
Most factors contributing to halitosis are self-curable, with proper diet, good oral hygiene and habitually drinking plenty of water. There are, however, a few cases in which bad breath is not self-treatable. Gum disease, cavities or problematic dental restorations trapping bacteria in the crevices around your teeth and gums can cause severe halitosis. Certain medical disorders and sinus or respiratory infections can also lead to bad breath – if you suspect you suffer from any of these maladies, see your dental professional. Although some people believe bad breath can come from the stomach, most medical professionals agree that your tummy is a very unlikely source of bad breath – unless, of course, you are belching.
You do want kissable breath, don’t you? If your bad breath is self-perpetuated, the most important thing to do is keep your oral cavity healthy. In addition to brushing and flossing after meals, be sure to clean your tongue. A tongue scraper will effectively remove all food particles from the surface of your tongue (a toothbrush can be used as well). Avoid foods that are particularly strong in smell (garlic, onions, etc…). Keep yourself hydrated with water (a moist mouth will actually smell better than a dry mouth – sweet baby breath is partly due to constant drooling!), and if you are unable to drink water, chew sugarless gum (which will promote saliva generation). Finally, always have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined twice a year. Essential oil-containing mouthwashes like Tooth and Gum Tonic can also inhibit bad breath for hours and will not dry out your mouth like alcoholic mouthwash, which you should stay away from. Stopping bad habits like drinking and smoking will also benefit your mouth greatly.