Is bad breath holding you back?

Bad breath ruins your day – but what to do if you suffer from chronic bad breath and nothing helps?

Medically called halitosis, studies have shown bad breath can affect a person psychologically, causing anxiety and impacting on social behaviour.

Halitosis is a disease with profound effects on self-esteem and self-confidence, with surveys conducted around the globe revealing that people had even taken to smoking cigarettes to try and hide their chronic bad breath.

Dr Walmsley said foods such as garlic, onion, cheese and even alcoholic drinks and coffee could cause bad breath.

“These foods and drinks are absorbed into the bloodstream and until these leave the body it can cause bad breath.”

Other causes could be more complex which many people may overlook. Poor oral hygiene is a major cause.

“Inefficient or irregular brushing of teeth has a big impact on a person’s breath. People often neglect to clean their tongues, too,” Dr Walmsley said.

The tongue is home to lots of bacteria which react with foods. While a special tongue brush or scraper can be used to clean the tongue, especially toward the back, a special toothpaste should be considered, and you will benefit from regular dental visits.

People with dentures often forget they need to clean these twice daily with proper techniques to avoid halitosis.

“Oral disease, like periodontitis, is also a cause. Regular professional cleanings can help with this.”

The problem of chronic bad breath is not restricted to what happens in your mouth. General health conditions such diabetes, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disease or even liver or kidney disorders could cause bad breath.

Dr Walmsley advised people to visit a doctor to check for underlying causes.

But even something as simple as a dry mouth could also lead to halitosis.

Xerostomia (dry mouth) can be caused by dehydration, consistent breathing through the mouth as opposed to the nose, certain medications, radiation therapy and even certain medical conditions. Symptoms of this include bad breath, tooth decay, increased thirst and even a consistently sore throat.

To avoid dry mouth, pay attention to the types of medication you take or discuss the matter with a healthcare professional depending on the severity or cause.

While maintaining a healthy balance of water consumption each day could be a practical solution, one must brush twice daily and consider using mouth rinsing products, gels and such to help dry mouth.

“I come across a lot more complaints about bad breath as opposed to dry mouth, but often one could have a very mild case of dry mouth without knowing that a person is suffering from it,” Dr Walmsley.


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