Bad breath is a common problem that affects many people. At least 50 percent of adults have had bad breath at some point in their lives. Despite having a number of causes, 90 percent of bad breath is caused by certain bacteria present in the oral cavity responsible for breaking down food. This process ultimately leads to the release of odorous compounds. The bacteria often hide on the tongue hence the need to clean the tongue thoroughly as a measure to get rid of bad breath.
Causes of Bad Breath
Bad breath or halitosis is one of the most studied oral conditions. According to research, a number of causes are responsible for the condition. As a matter of fact, if you want to get rid of bad breath, you should consider each of these causes separately as well as jointly with the rest. Among the common causes of bad breath include:
This is the prime source of halitosis. There are certain foods including onions, garlic, exotic spices, acidic beverages, fish and some cheese that leave a lingering smell in the mouth long after the meal. This smell may be short lived however some of the food particles may get stuck in between the teeth hence promoting the growth of bacteria. Low carbohydrate diets have also been cited as a major cause of ketone breath. The body burns fat to generate energy and this result into formation of ketones as an end product. Ketone causes a fruity odor on the breath.
This condition is medically known as xerostomia. Dry mouth causes bad breath because saliva serves to moisten and cleanse the mouth and in its absence, bad breath may result. Salivary gland problems, medication, breathing through the mouth or connective tissue disorders have the potential to cause a dry mouth. This also explains why a person experiences bad breath immediately they wake up. While asleep, saliva dries up hence a dry mouth.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Irregular brushing and flossing makes food particles stuck in the mouth to rot hence causing a bad breath. Poor dental hygiene also contributes to the growth of plaque in the mouth which carries a smell of its own.
Sore throat, pneumonia, sinus infections, bronchitis, acid reflux, diabetes, lactose intolerance and thrush among other problems are linked to bad breath.
Braces or Dentures
Unless the food particles stuck in dentures and braces are properly removed, they may rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may prick the gum causing infections and sores in the mouth which also contribute to bad breath.
When getting rid of bad breath, you should therefore consider each of the above causes carefully.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
In as much as bad breath may seem a persistent problem, the good news is it can be reduced or eliminated as a whole with proper strategies on oral health. Below are some of the top ways to achieve this:
Practicing good oral hygiene
If you want to get rid of bad breath, you need to exercise good oral care such as brushing at least twice a day to remove food debris as well as plaque. Brushing should essentially be done 20 to 30 minutes after a meal meaning for school children and office workers; they may have to carry a toothbrush. Concentrate on the tongue while brushing because this place harbors bacteria and other microbes. Whether you are using an electric or manual toothbrush, you should change it every 2 to 3 months or immediately after an illness. It is advisable to floss at least once a day to remove plaque and food particles.
Drink Lots of Water
Water helps in keeping your mouth moist and clean. Chewing gum especially the sugarless variety stimulates production of saliva that helps in washing away bacteria and food particles.
In addition to the above practices, you should always keep a log of the foods you eat and bring it to your dentist every time you visit him for a review. If you are a regular smoker and chew tobacco-based products, try to limit the frequency or better still abandon the habit completely.
When to See a Doctor
As discussed above, good oral hygiene is important to help you get rid of bad breath. This condition is rarely life threatening however in some cases it may be a pointer to underlying medical disorders. In the event you have tried the above procedures and you feel that something is still amiss or the problem is persistent, you need to see a doctor for a diagnosis. Whenever the bad breath is accompanied by sores in the mouth, difficulties in chewing or swallowing, fever, white spots on the tonsils or a persistent dry mouth, consider seeing a dentist.
Where bad breath develops after a dental surgery or medication, get in touch with your medical practitioner and explain your situation to prevent the problem from worsening.
Best Toothpaste for Bad Breath
Your choice of toothpaste is very important as you get rid of bad breath. This is because different toothpaste come with different combinations of ingredients some of which are more effective in particular conditions. There are a number of toothpastes formulated specifically for bad breath and other related problems. Colgate Total is one of those toothpastes. It has a capacity to reduce gingivitis and plaque by 88 and 98 percent respectively. This combined with the sodium fluoride and Triclosan active ingredients it contains makes it an all round cleaning toothpaste.
Sensodyne extra whitening is also effective toothpaste for bad breath. If you have sensitive teeth and gum, Sensodyne is the best toothpaste for you because it breaks the stubborn stains of nicotine and caffeine while at the same time forming a protective layer that blocks pain caused by acidic, sweet, hot or cold foods. See review of best toothpaste for Bad Breath
Best Mouthwash for Bad Breath
When looking for a mouthwash for bad breath, look for one which has powerful oxygenating compounds. These compounds help you to get rid of bad breath, promote optimal oral health and maintain fresh breath every day. A mouthwash with antiseptic solution is also excellent in reducing the microbial load in your oral cavity. Depending on the condition of your oral health, you may find mouthwashes with antifungal, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties particularly useful.
Among the ingredients to look for in the best mouthwash for bad breath include chlorhexidine gluconate, cetylpyridinium chloride, fluoride, methyl salicylate and sodium benzoate which preserve the freshness of the mouthwash once the container is opened. Zinc ion helps to keep future bad breath at bay.