Bad breath (halitosis)

Mal aliento

While not typically deemed a serious condition, bad breath (also called halitosis) may have a detrimental effect on a person’s relationships, and both their professional and personal life. Here are some helpful tips for eliminating it.

What causes bad breath?

The causes of bad breath can either have its origins in the mouth or further down the digestive tract. The most common causes are:

  • Bad oral hygiene. Food remains and bacteria, left unchecked, will cause both tooth decay and bad breath. Brushing our teeth and tongue on a daily basis is essential for maintaining oral health, and together with periodic use of mouth wash, is the single best guarantee against bad breath.
  • Smoking. This dirty habit is very bad for our general health, but when it comes to the mouth, it leaves it with the unpleasant stench of tar, nicotine and other chemical products. In addition, smoking may cause gum disease, which also causes halitosis.
  • Specific foods. Certain vegetables such as onions or garlic produce a large number of bacteria when they decompose. They pass into the blood stream during digestion, and eventually, into the lungs, so their smelly effects are carried in exhaled air.
  • Dry mouth. People who suffer from dry mouth are prone to bad breath. Saliva helps remove food remains that can cause bad odour, and thus helps keep the mouth clean. This is why bad breath is more common in the morning, as dry mouth usually occurs during the night’s sleep.
  • Drugs. Dry mouth and bad breath can also be caused by certain medications.
  • Helicobacter pylori. Another common cause of bad breath is the gastric presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. This generates a gastric mucus called urease that is eliminated from the body via the lungs, thus producing a bad smell while exhaling.

Tips for eliminating or avoiding bad breath

  • Follow proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after every meal, and that includes the tongue. Regular use of mouth wash is also strongly recommended. Don’t forget to replace the brush with a new one approximately every six months.
  • Make sure to use an antibacterial toothpaste that ensures the absolute elimination of microbes.
  • If you suffer from dry mouth, try keep your mouth hydrated. Chewing sugar-free gum can help your mouth to generate saliva.
  • Sugar can cause halitosis, so watch what you eat and try to keep a balanced diet. Also try to avoid smelly foods such as garlic or onions.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and oral cleaning. We recommend two visits per year.
  • Use dental floss to remove food particles and bacterial plaque which contribute to halitosis.

For any further doubts or queries, please feel free to reach out to Hospital Ochoa Dentistry.

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