Halitosis or Bad breath is a condition which affects 30% of the population worldwide. This embarrassing condition is characterized by an odor which originates in the mouth, throat and tonsils. In people with genuine cases of bad breath the odor comes from the inside of the mouth.
The foul odor is caused by a group of anaerobic bacteria which produce sulfur. These bacteria do not require any oxygen and breed below the tongue throat and tonsil area. They are a natural flora of the oral cavity and assist in digestion and protein breakdown.
While there many factors causing Halitosis, four of them seem to be very common.
Dry Mouth or Xerostomia provides a favorable condition for these bacteria which dont need oxygen. Long periods of speaking, smoking , snoring and drinking alcohol are a few common underlying causes of it. Most people experience bad breath in the morning because of the lack of saliva production.
For healthy people, bad breath is temporary which resolves in a few minutes with normal saliva flow. However, people who suffer from constant dry mouth may suffer from worsening of the situation.
Bacteria causing Halitosis may get aggressive with the consumption of food containing sulfur compounds like onion and garlic. In addition, high protein diet like meat and dairy may worsen the condition because they survive o protein. Coffee and soda may exacerbate the condition because of their high acidic content which is favourable for these bacteria.
POOR ORAL HYGIENE
Poor oral hygiene causes bacterial buildup and causes tartar which may buildup and cause gum bleeding. This provides fuel to the odor causing bacteria resulting in Bad breath.
ILLNESS AND DISEASE
Individuals suffering from diabetes, lung diseases, liver diseases, cancer and various others have bad breath because of the constant dry mouth. In addition, some medication like anti depressants, high blood pressure medication and histamines also contribute to the condition.
HOW TO AVOID
Brushing daily with baking soda helps to eliminate the acids found in oral cavity by neutralizing them. The acidic environment in mouth is provides favorable condition to the odor causing bacteria.
Take proper care in cleaning your mouth. Brush after every meal while not forgetting to clean the tongue.
Chewing stick is a natural tooth cleaning stick which provides 10 times better cleaning action than a regular toothbrush. It has also been found proven its effectiveness in relieving various diseases which culminate in having bad breath.
Avoid using mouthwashes that contain alcohol as they dry your mouth making the situation even worse.
Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
Add high fiber foods to your diet like Carrots, cucumbers, leafy greens etc. Not they are effective in minimizing the odor produced by bacteria, they also are helpful in treating various ailments which are the underlying cause of it.
Increase your water intake. Keeping your mouth moist will make a less suitable environment for these bacteria to flourish.
Avoid Drying Medications
Antidepressants, diuretics and antihistamines inhibit saliva flow and cause dry mouth. Try not to take them unless absolutely medically necessary.
Studies have shown smoking predisposes individuals to higher risk of developing periodontal diseases and dry mouth. Smokers are also prone to have more issues like chronic anxiety, drinking alcohol whose medication requirement may exacerbate the condition.
Use Breath Fresheners
While this might seem a temporary solution to the problem, its worth having a go when you are in social conventions, public speaking etc. Chewing Fennel seeds, Cardamom pods along with seeds and having raw mint in your salads can give you instant relief from the trouble. Their constant use has also shown beneficial in digestive troubles which most of the time cause bad breath.
Using Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil, clove oil and tea tree oil all have potent antibacterial, anti inflammatory properties. In addition, they also provide effective local pain relief in various ailments like gum bleeding , periodontitis etc while reducing redness and swelling.
Massaging or brushing with any of these oils will help you get relief from the above troubles with their regular use.
Use few drops of one of the oils with coconut oil acting as the base. Massage them on to your gums for atleast 5 to 10 minutes. The more working time you give them, the more helpful they will be.