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Bad Breath Culprits

Nobody likes halitosis; or bad breath as it’s commonly referred to. It’s an undesirable problem when you’ve just woken up and morning breath is taking the spotlight at the breakfast table. Or, you’re on the train to work and the only spare seat is sitting next to a commuter exuding a horrible stench out of their mouth upon every word spoken.

We’ve all been in either situation at some point in our life. And it’s worse when your mouth is the actual offender that is causing discomfort to others. So put an end to bad breath through self-education. By knowing what’s causing it, you have a better chance at preventing bad breath from becoming a problem.

In a nutshell, bad breath occurs when odour-producing bacteria develops in the mouth[1]. There are a few factors that cause this, such as poor dental habits, which can lead to an unhygienic mouth, a dry mouth (side effect from various medications) or even consuming certain foods with strong odours (garlic or onions)[2].

When a person fails to brush and floss their teeth sufficiently on a daily basis, food particles are more inclined to stay behind in your mouth[3]. This is a catalyst for plaque and bacteria growth between teeth, gums and on the tongue, ultimately releasing sulphur compounds and causing bad breath[4]. The same goes for overpowering foods. Onions and garlic contain pungent oils which are absorbed into the blood stream and expelled by the lungs[5].

Curing bad breath
There is no one-off, quick fix to cure bad breath. Though, there are a few helpful remedies and prevention methods that can fight it
[6].

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with combined flossing to ensure your mouth is getting a sufficient clean. This prevents plaque build up and bacteria growth.
  • Be sure to brush your tongue, as it’s a main attraction for bacteria
  • Gargle your mouth with a water and salt mixture or an antiseptic, plaque reducing mouthwash which fights oral bacteria.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months. An old toothbrush with worn-out bristles is a breeding ground for bacteria and brushing with one will only transport germs into your mouth.
  • Drink lots of water to keep your mouth moist and chew sugar-free gum. This produces more saliva which can help wash away food particles and bacteria.
  • Visit your dentist for regular dental assessments. They are trained to detect and treat periodontal disease, excessive dry mouth and other instigators of bad breath.

References:

Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.


[1] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

[2] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

[3] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

[4] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

[5] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

[6] Scully, C., S. Porter, and J. Greenman. “What to do about halitosis.” BMJ 308, no. 6923 (1994): 217-218.

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