What’s that smell? —Yikes, bad breath!

Photocredits: http://www.tonsilstonesproblems.com/img/bad%20breath.jpg
Photocredits: http://www.tonsilstonesproblems.com/img/bad%20breath.jpg
Photocredits: http://www.tonsilstonesproblems.com/img/bad%20breath.jpg

You turn to your right to say something to your seatmate, but when you started talking, his/her facial expression changes and you can tell that something is up. But what is it? Was it because of what you ate for lunch? Could it be that you forgot to brush your teeth this morning that’s why you developed bad breath? 

Bad breath is also known as Halitosis, from the Latin word “halitus” meaning exhalation and the Greek word “osis” which means a condition or a disease causing process.

There  are many reasons for acquiring and developing bad breath when bacteria grows in the mouth. Even if your body is good at fighting infections and diseases, sometimes,  it becomes powerless against bacterial infections. And in the case of bad breath, anaerobic bacteria (meaning, they don’t need air to live and survive because the lack of oxygen is what enables them to live and multiply) is the primary cause of bad breath/halitosis. You might think that not brushing your teeth is the only cause for having bad breath, but no, there are many other reasons. Here are some: 

  • DRY  MOUTH. As we said above, bad breath is often caused by anaerobic bacteria. During sleep, or when you don’t eat and have too little to drink, you are prone to develop dry mouth–an environment that the anaerobic bacteria loves. Saliva is an important factor in fighting against germs and bacteria, that’s why when the saliva production in your mouth is decreased, the germs and bacteria multiplies fast. That’s why the smell is strong in the morning. Having dry mouth also means that there are leftover food that can get stuck in between you teeth, thus the smell.
  • FOOD/DRINKS. Examples are those with strong smell and taste, (onion, garlic and other spices, spicy food, cheese etc.) The strong smell of these food can stay in your mouth for longer period of time compared to other food items. Also, leftover food that aren’t flushed out of your mouth when you don’t brush your teeth can cause bad breath as well.
  • SMOKING. When you smoke, your mouth becomes dry and decreases the oxygen there—remember what we said above? That the anaerobic bacteria that causes bad breath loves places that are depleted of oxygen? Well, that’s the case when you smoke.
  • ORAL CAVITY DISEASES AND THE LIKE. Diseases in the oral cavity such as tooth decay and having cavities often causes bad breath. Gingivitis, which is an inflammation and bleeding of the gums is another reason because there are a lot of anaerobic bacteria involved.
  • EXTREME DIETING AND OR STARVING. When you diet, you sometimes tend to skip meals and have the tendency to starve yourself. When you do, your body begin to burn fats causing your breath to smell like ketones (which smells like acetone, a nail polish remover).

Don’t worry too much, because the good new is, having bad breath happens to everyone once in a while. Want to know more about it? Scroll down below to find out and discover facts on how to treat and prevent it.

  • Drink a lot. Keep yourself hydrated, especially during hot days. If possible, drink ar
  • Refrain from smoking. Aside from bad breath, smoking only makes you vulnerable to a lot of health problems.
  •  Don’t do excessive dieting. Prevent yourself from fasting. Taking light meals every 2-3 hours may prevent bad breath.
  • Have a regular check-up with your dentist. Aside from cleaning, your dentist will check your mouth for any potential problems and those with regards to bad breath and can advise you on what to do with it.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth every after meals or at least twice a day. You can use dental floss to clean in between your teeth. Also, clean your tongue, at least once a day–not with your toothbrush but with an appropriate tongue scraper. Doing this reduces a certain amount of bacteria.
  • However, if your bad breath won’t go away even after you’ve practiced good oral hygiene and done what your dentist told you, your dentist may refer you to a specialist to determine what really is causing your bad breath, because having bad breath all the time may provide a clue to the underlying condition that is causing it (it could be a sinus problem, kidney problem etc.)

© 2014, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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