Also known as halitosis is a noticeable unpleasant odor that emanates from the oral cavity (mouth) and is offensive to others.
Bad breath can be serious enough to cause personal embarrassment or may affect interpersonal/social communication.
There are 2 major types of Bad breath;
- True bad breath (genuine halitosis); this is obvious malodor noticeable by everyone, including the person involved. It can be due to either physiologic or pathological causes.
- Physiologic bad breath; commonly seen in early morning breath, diet (e.g. beans, garlic, onions), fasting, dehydration, stress, habits like mouth breathing which results in the mouth being dry, etc.
- Pathologic bad breath; can be caused by either disease in the mouth (local factors) such as dental caries, gum diseases, tongue coating usually seen in poor oral hygiene; OR systemic diseases such as respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus).
- False bad breath (pseudo-halitosis); this is the type of bad breath that occurs when people feel their mouth is dry, heavy or that they have a bad taste in their mouth. This type of bad breath is not always present, unlike the genuine type.
There is a third classification which is usually diagnosed by the dentist, called HALITOPHOBIA or (psychologic bad breath).This type is seen in people that are obsessed with their breath and believe they always have bad breath but in the actual sense they don’t .They tend to misinterpret the reaction of people around whenever they talk as them having bad breath.
It’s easy to improve your breath and keep your teeth and gum healthy at the same time, you can try these simple steps to make your mouth feel fresh and clean.
- Brush at least twice daily, morning and last thing at night. Floss at least once daily, this helps remove trapped food in between your teeth.
- Ensure you clean your tongue properly making sure you get to the back of your tongue using a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
- Visit your Dentist every 6 months for routine cleaning.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal with water and not soft drinks or juice.
- Avoid that foods sour your breath like onions, garlic, and ginger. E.t.c.
- Take sips of water regularly during the day, this helps moisten the mouth.
- Chewing SUGARLESS gums also help freshen the breath.
- Don’t smoke or take alcohol.
If you still think you have bad breath after doing all these. Then you need to see your DENTIST for thorough examination and treatment of any underlying dental issues such as;
- Dental cavities (holes); for filling
- Gum disease ; for scaling and polishing
- Swellings; treatment varies depending on the cause. Etc.
For management of medical issues causing bad breath.