Halitosis (bad breath) is a common oral problem that anyone at any age can have. This oral problem is so common that it’s believed that about one in five people have bad breath on a regular basis. When it comes to bad breath treatments, it’s always advisable that you should identify what’s responsible for your breath odor first. Moreover, there are numerous factors that can cause bad breath. The most common cause is sulphur-producing bacteria that normally live on the surface of the mouth tissues, gums, tongue and even in the throat.
Due to poor oral hygiene, large number of bacteria can accumulate in your mouth, they produce toxins that can cause your breath to smell. However, bad breath can also be as a result of oral infections, gum disease can make your breath to smell. Apart from this, other health problems such as kidney failure, dry mouth, acid reflux from the stomach, post-nasal discharge and liver disease can all lead to bad breath.
Occasionally, we experience persistent bad breath (halitosis) during an infection or illness. Chronic consumption of foods with strong smell such as raw garlic and onions, can result to temporary bad breath and body odor. Well, am not here to lecture you on the causes of bad breath. I had a post that revealed 6 causes of bad breath. In this today’s article, I want us to look at some effective bad breath treatments. But before that, I would like you to know how this oral problem can be diagnosed.
With the help of your dentist you can detect the cause or origin of your bad breath. There are certain sophisticated detectors that are designed to be able to identify the chemicals and health problems responsible for bad breath. (1) While at the dentist office, feel free, trying to hide the smell of breath can make it more difficult to find out what’s causing the problem.
Your dentist may smell the breath coming from your mouth and nose, he will then rate the odor on a scale. He may also scrape some areas on the surface of your mouth for tests. He will likely scrape the back of your tongue and rate its odor, in order to check if it’s the source of the smell.
If it turns out that your mouth is healthy, then the smell might be due to an internal infection or disease. The dentist will refer you to a doctor or a specialist for more evaluation.
Bad breath treatments
There is not just one treatment for bad breath, they are indeed many effective ways to treat this issue. Many options are available, but the best treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If it’s due to oral problems, then Improving your oral hygiene is usually enough to cure bad breath. You should also try as much as possible to prevent cavities , mouth ulcers and gum disease since they can contribute to bad breath.
However, the treatments options I will list here may only be effective for treating bad breath caused by oral problems. If your bad breath is caused by an underlying health condition, you should visit a primary health care provider for proper evaluation and treatment plans.
Some of the ways to treat bad breath includes:
1. Treat oral disease: if an oral disease or infection is responsible for your bad breath, it’s necessary for you to go for proper treatment. Gum disease for example can cause the gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets between the gums and teeth, where odor-causing bacteria inhabit. If gum disease is responsible, your dentist can refer you to a periodontist for special treatments. Once you are able to get rid of the oral problem responsible, your breath will return back to normal.
2. Use suitable mouthwash and toothpastes: this remedy is very effective if your bad breath is caused by large accumulation of bacteria in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene. There are lots of mouthwash and toothpastes out there that have strong antibacterial properties. Such oral care products can kill oral bacteria that are responsible for the smell. If you are not so sure on the ones to pick, your dentist can recommend for you.
3. Stay hydrated: frequent dry mouth or taking of things that dry out your mouth can cause bad breath. Try to avoid taking much of tobacco, coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, instead replace them with water. Researchers have shown that women during menstruation and menopause are at high risk of developing bad breath due to low level of saliva production.
The saliva contains strong antibacterial and cleaning properties that eliminates food particles and harmful bacteria from your mouth. When you don’t get enough saliva, bacteria and particles can easily accumulate and cause bad breath. The best thing to do in this case is to take healthy meals and remedies that stimulates the flow of saliva. You can check out my post on effective home remedies for dry mouth.
4. Effective tongue cleaning: proper cleaning of the tongue may help to reduce bad breath. The tongue harbors lots of smell causing bacteria. Large number of bacteria and particles on the tongue can lead to bad breath. The tongue might be very difficult to clean for people that have dry mouth and coated tongue. There is always a significant overgrowth of bacteria on the tongue in people with dry mouths, but you can keep your breath under control with the help of tongue scraper.
The tongue should be brushed in a gentle but thorough manner, from the far back towards the front of the tongue. There are special tongue brushes and scrapers that are designed to help with proper cleaning of the tongue.
When to seek medical advice
You should see your doctor, dentist or your local chemist if your bad breath persist, even after making some few changes to improve your oral hygiene and health. Seeing a doctor might be more helpful if your bad breath is caused by a health problem. Just feel free, it might be more difficult to find the underlying cause if you try to hide the smell of your breath when seeking medical advice. (2)
Morning appointments for testing bad breath is always the best, since it reduces the chances of the foods you eat during the day to hinder the exam. One more thing, wearing of perfume or scented lotions to your appointment, can hinder the exam, since scented products may mask the odors.