Some diseases are serious and terrifyingly fatal like cancer or AIDS. Others meanwhile are just downright annoying and embarrassing such as bad breath (halitosis).
While having halitosis can make you feel grateful that you're not suffering from a life-threatening disease, this doesn't mean that you can ignore the condition completely. Just like any other health problems, having bad breath can have adverse effects not only on your health but in your life in general. Here are the things that you have to know about this disease.
Knowing the cause of your bad breath is the first step in treating it. Bad breath can be a result of anything from poor dental habits to certain food choices. All the foods you eat enter through your mouth. These foods are digested, absorbed by the bloodstream, and given off in your breath. When you eat foods that have strong odors like onions or garlics, the odor will come out of your breath even if brush your teeth or use mouthwash. The odor will only go away once the foods have been released from your body.
When you have poor dental habits such as if you don't brush or floss your teeth daily, food particles will remain inside your mouth, promoting the growth of bacteria on the tongue, gums and between the teeth. These bacteria eventually cause bad breath. Unhealthy habits like smoking also cause bad breath along with other unsightly effects such as stained teeth and gum irritation.
Bad breath can also be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as gum or periodontal infection, throat infection (pharyngitis or tonsillitis), respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), liver or kidney disease, Sjogren's syndrome, and lactose intolerance.
Prevention and Treatment
One of the quickest ways to prevent halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste ensures that no food particles are left in your mouth to build up plaque and bacteria. Make sure that you brush your tongue as well since bacteria can live on this part of your mouth. Don't forget to use a floss to remove food debris in between your teeth.
Replace your toothbrush at least every 2 months. If you're using dentures, remove them every night and clean thoroughly before using the next day.
Always take a trip to your dentist. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is important so you can have professional cleaning that will help you steer clear of halitosis. Your dentist can also detect if you have any periodontal disease and treat it to prevent the disease from causing bad breath.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking or chewing of tobacco-based products. Keep yourself hydrated with eight glasses of water. This is important to stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth that washes food particles and bacteria away.
If none of these works, visit your doctor to find out if you have any underlying medical problem that may be causing your halitosis.