Feeling fresh on waking is, without doubt, the best way to start the day. And bad breath doesn’t just ruin that fresh early morning feeling – it can turn your whole day into a real stinker.
Bad breath is a common condition affecting people of all ages and genders. It’s commonly referred to as halitosis and can have a number of causes, with its point of origin anywhere in the mouth.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.
Garlic, onion, coffee and tobacco are all among the chief offenders. Usually, diet-related halitosis lasts only until a few hours after eating and can easily be treated by brushing the teeth.
Conditions affecting the respiratory tract such as sinusitis, tonsillitis, chronic lung disease, or other systemic conditions such as diabetes, liver, kidney diseases can all be a cause of halitosis.
Dry mouth – sometimes known as xerostomia is one of the chief causes of bad breath. This is usually down to improper functioning of the salivary glands through infection or illness. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose is another common culprit.
The condition of halitosis can be so psychologically overwhelming that some sufferers believe they have it when their breath is minty fresh. This is called pseudo halitosis and can occur after suffering from the real thing, especially if it has caused embarrassment at some point in the past.
Halitosis can be diagnosed using halimeter – a sulphide monitor that detects the quantity of sulphide in the exhaled air. Other diagnostic tests available include the BANA test, gas chromatometry, and beta galactosidase tests.
In most cases, the condition can be treated by avoiding problem foods and quitting smoking. Often the problem takes more careful planning to eradicate. One of the problems with self-treating halitosis is that the causes can be so varied.
In general, the best treatment is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash should help to get rid of any stuck food that causes bad odour as it decays. This is especially true before sleep, during which time the mouth is less protected by saliva.
Staying hydrated can also help halitosis sufferers stay on top of the dreaded xerostomia.
Following these steps should help alleviate the worst symptoms. If problems persist, it could be time to seek professional help. A dentist will be able to get to the bottom of the cause of halitosis even when you can’t and should be able to design a treatment plan to banish the problem for good.