Bad breath or halitosis is caused by a variety of reasons. The most obvious is the lack of good oral hygiene which means meticulous tooth brushing and flossing after every meal.
After eating, leftover food debris in the mouth should be removed by brushing the teeth for at less three minutes – the length of time that will approximately ensure the coverage of the whole mouth and tooth structures. Bacteria accumulate in areas where food debris are present and will eventually decay to omit foul odor. The tongue should also be brushed for the same reasons.
Having bad breath also means the presence of tooth decay. Cavities in the tooth structures are filled with decaying organic matter composed of leftover food particles and the tooth structure itself. The only solution is to go to the dentist and have these teeth restored or filled. In some cases where the decay is so extensive and the tooth is severely broken, root canal treatment or even extraction of the tooth may be an option.
Wearing dentures or prosthesis may also produce bad breath. Dentures are made from resin (acrylic/plastic) material which through time may become porous to saliva and food debris. When thes happens, bacteria will invade the denture and produce a fetid stench.
Dentist always advise their patients to brush their dentures especially the tissue side (the side which is in contact with the gums and the pallet) meticulously after every meal. At night, patients are advised to remove their dentures and place them in specially formulated denture antiseptics (or a glass of water with a tablespoon of salt) to prevent bacterial buildup.
In many instances, bad breath is a product of what we eat and drink. This could easily be remedied by simple brushing of the teeth and tongue. Some people would suggest the use of mouthwashes or breath fresheners. However good these products may be, it should not be used to replace tooth brushing. Masking the foul smell can last only for few hours and it does not really remove food debris. Food particles should be removed for a lasting fresh breath. Besides, these products are not cheap.
Another cause of bad breath is smoking. Aside from the various diseases associated with tobacco smoking, it can also cause bad breath in a number of ways. First, the smoke produces an unclean aroma in the mouth which is unpleasant to many. Second, it also promotes tooth decay because the chemical by-products of smoking, nicotine and tar stick and stain tooth structures. Third, the heat from inhaled smoke slowly destroys gum structures and reduces saliva flow which helps wash away food debris. Finally, smoking is associated with the throat and lungs that could lead to bad breath.
Diseases also contribute to bad breath. Infections in the throat, lungs and stomach can produce unpleasant odors which are emitted by a person through the mouth. When tooth decay or poor oral hygiene is ruled out as the cause of bad breath, a person is suspected of a systemic cause. If you think that you fit in this category, then gen on your feet and see a doctor immediately.
Bad breath can easily be prevented and cured if you know how. Determining the specific cause of this social problem can lead to a more confident and less stressful life. So, the next time you open your mouth, ask yourself, “Have I brushed my teeth yet?”