Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a condition in which a person has an unpleasant odour coming from their mouth. People who have bad breath often feel embarrassed and conscious about it. This can lead to them avoiding social situations and not wanting to be around other people. In some cases, mouth odour can even cause people to lose their jobs or have problems in their personal relationships.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 25 to 30 percent of the world’s population suffers from bad breath. In Nigeria, this figure is thought to be even higher, with some estimates suggesting that as many as 50 percent of the population may be affected.
However, despite the alarming statistics, many people still do not seek treatment for mouth odour as a result of the stigma associated with it. It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight it.
Causes of Bad Breath
Bad breath is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. While there are many over-the-counter products available to help mask mouth odour, it is important to understand the causes so that you can address the underlying problem.
An American Dentist, Dr Harold Katz, outlines some of the most common causes of bad breath which were published in the American Dental Association website. These include food and drink, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, and medical conditions
He explains that when we eat, our mouths produce saliva, which helps to break down food and wash away bacteria. However, certain foods and drinks can cause foul breath. For example, garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that are released into the air when we breathe, causing mouth odour. Coffee and alcohol can also cause mouth odour, because they can dry out the mouth and allow bacteria to flourish.
Tobacco use is another common cause of bad breath. Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco all contain nicotine, which can dry out the mouth and cause terrible mouth odour. In addition, tobacco use can lead to gum disease, which can also cause foul breath.
Poor oral hygiene is another common cause of bad breath. If we don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria can build up in our mouths and cause bad breath. In addition, food particles that are not removed by brushing can decompose and cause bad breath.
Finally, there are a number of medical conditions that can cause bad breath. For example, sinus infections and post-nasal drip can cause bad breath. In addition, certain medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
While bad breath can be embarrassing, it is important to remember that it is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors. If you are concerned about mouth odour, it is best to see a dentist or doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Once any medical conditions have been ruled out, you can then focus on practicing good oral hygiene and making lifestyle changes, if necessary, to help improve your breath.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Bad breath can be a real turnoff, not to mention embarrassing. If you’re looking to get rid of bad breath for good, there are a few things you can do.
According to a UK Associate Dentist, Dr Mark Harris, it is first important to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. These simple steps will help to remove any food particles or bacteria that may be causing bad breath.
Dr Harris, who works at the Dr H Clifton Simmons III Dental office, also advised people to be aware of the foods they’re eating. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can cause bad mouth odour.
“If you are going to eat these foods, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help to freshen your breath after eating,” he added.
Drinking plenty of water is also important for preventing this condition. Drinking water helps to keep your mouth hydrated and remove any toxins that may be causing mouth odour.
He also mentioned some natural remedies that can help to get rid of bad mouth odour. One of such remedies is using a mixture of baking soda and water as a mouthwash. This mixture according to him can help to neutralize any acidic odours that may be causing bad breath.
He gave the recommendations in an article titled “Natural Remedies for Bad Breath” and published on the Harris Dental website.
If you are still struggling with mouth odour, it may be time to see a dentist. A dentist can help to determine the cause of your bad breath and offer additional treatment options.