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Bad Breath - Bad Breath 2012
Written by Frank Mangano   
Saturday, 06 October 2012 18:53


Bad breath, or halitosis in medical terminology, can be a potential source of embarrassment. It has the capacity to affect a person’s self-esteem as well as ruin his relationships with other people. At times, this could mean the difference between you landing the job of your dreams or staying unemployed for a long period of time despite your glowing credentials.

Sad to say, some people are not aware that they have bad breath – until someone well-meaning, or probably who could not stomach the discomfort anymore, decides to point it out to them.

The condition is commonly caused by bacteria present inside the mouth. Once food particles come in contact with the bacteria, the result is foul odor. Needless to say that poor oral hygiene is one of the contributing factors in the development of bad breath. But there are other causative factors, too. Understanding what they are will enable us to find solutions to prevent its recurrence.  Knowing what the causes are might also help in realizing that one’s halitosis is just a symptom of some underlying disease that needs to be cured.  Below are the common causes of halitosis, or bad breath:

  1. Dry mouth

    Saliva is vital in eliminating offensive elements in the mouth; it is considered as our natural mouthwash. The salivary gland, when infiltrated with white blood cells, will produce less moisture, thus causing dry mouth, or xerostomia.  When the flow of saliva decreases, food particles are not broken down properly.  So accumulation of food particles would cause further growth of bacteria, which will eventually cause foul-smelling breath once a person opens his mouth.  There are many causes of dry mouth – some would be the side effects of taking medication, not drinking enough water, and the weather. In some cases, dry mouth would only be a symptom to underlying diseases, such as autoimmune disorders.  In order to temporarily resolve this problem, some people are advised to chew sugarless gum to increase the flow of saliva.  Drinking water regularly and constantly nibbling on snacks will prevent xerostomia, and therefore prevent bad breath.

  2. Food Intake

    Common herbs, such as garlic and onion, exotic spices, some cheeses, fish and acidic beverages, are the most common culprits that cause bad breath.  When these foods are ingested, the chemical that causes its pungent odor will be absorbed and will go to the bloodstream.  It will then transfer to the lungs, where, if the person exhales, is released to the air.  However, this is just temporary because as soon as the person stops eating these types of foods, the odor exhaled from his lungs will eventually disappear.

  3. Smoking

    Just like pungent-smelling food consumers, smokers have bad breath every time they exhale.  Unlike foods which are absorbed through the digestive tract and goes into the bloodstream, smoke from tobacco is inhaled into the lungs, goes into the bloodstream, and exhaled into the air via the lungs.  But there’s more, cigarette smoking also causes tar and nicotine buildup on the surface of the teeth, tongue and cheeks.  The side effects of nicotine which is drying of the mouth, impedes the flow of saliva that acts as a natural mouth cleanser, which will later on cause bad breath.  The only remedy for bad breath caused by this activity is to stop the activity itself. Stop smoking.

  4. Tooth and gum problems

    People who have tooth decay, dental plaque, tooth abscesses, tooth infections, gingivitis, periodontitis and gum diseases have problems with anaerobic bacteria that live in their mouths.  Anaerobic bacteria consume food and eliminate waste products.  The waste products excreted by these bacteria contain sulfur compounds, which causes the stinky smell of one’s breath.  These volatile sulfur compounds easily evaporate that once a person opens his mouth, embarrassing odor is expelled. Anaerobic bacteria thrive in oxygen-depleted environment.  Inside the mouth, this environment is found in between the teeth and the 0.1 to 0.2 millimeter of plaque. So the more plaque build-up there is, the number of anaerobic bacteria also increases. In turn, the sulfur compound that is excreted by the bacteria also increases. As a remedy, brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss them regularly.  Have a superior dental hygiene to prevent offensive smell. For decaying teeth and gum infections, visit your dentist. Once they are treated properly by a dental professional, bad breath will finally disappear.

  5. Use of Dental Appliance

    Dentures, braces, retainers – these are dental appliances that can also cause bad breath.  Food particles, which are not removed thoroughly, plus ill-fitting appliance, which causes symptoms of inflammation on the gums, contribute to the cause of the problem.  By careful cleaning the dentures after meals, meticulous maintenance of the dental appliance, and proper fitting of dental equipment, bad breath can be eliminated.

  6. Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is inflammation and infection of the sinuses.  When one has sinusitis, there is an increase in mucous production. As mucous is produced at a faster rate due to the inflamed sinus, the flow of clean air is reduced. Subsequently, bacteria will start to grow in the proteins found on the linings of the sinus that contains mucous.  Bacteria will again emit foul odor, causing the breath to smell bad. The best remedy for this condition is to cure sinusitis. Persons suffering from sinusitis need to visit their nose doctor for proper treatment.

  7. Bronchitis

    Halitosis due to bronchitis has similar disease process as sinusitis.  However, for bronchitis, the infection happens inside the lungs.  When the bronchus and bronchioles of the lungs are inflamed, there is increased production of mucous and build-up of lung fluids.  Bacteria that excrete malodorous smell will thrive in the mucous.  So when a person exhales, rancid odor comes out of the person’s breath.  The only way to eliminate such symptom of the disease is to cure the disease itself.  Lung doctors will usually provide those who suffer from bronchitis treatment options that will decrease the inflammation that causes increased mucous production.

There are other causes of bad breath.  If the ten causes mentioned above are not the reasons why you shy away from the public because of bad breath, then it’s time to visit the doctor for further assessment and evaluation.





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