Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be an embarrassing problem. It is one of those things even your best friends won’t mention. So unfortunately, many people walk around with bad breath without even knowing it. Or if they do suspect it, they try temporary cover-ups, like breath mints or alcohol-based mouthwashes that dry out your mouth and increase your susceptibility to bad breath. What are some of the causes of bad breath?
There are many things that can cause bad breath, including the following:
Dry mouth caused by decreased flow of saliva, which is a vital part of removing odor-causing particles in the mouth
Bacteria which produces Volatile Sulfuric Compounds (VSCs) which can smell like rotten eggs or sweaty socks
Certain medical conditions which originate from nasal or throat area, lungs, digestive tract, etc
What can be done?
Maintaining proper oral health can help reduce or eliminate bad breath, but specific treatment to cure bad breath depends upon the cause.
Tongue cleaning is the very most important aspect when treating 'genuine halitosis'. The tongue harbors bacteria that produce the VSCs mentioned above. When asked, most people say that the tongue has a light color - yet actually, a tongue has a dark rose color to it when cleaned properly. Although a toothbrush is most commonly used to clean the tongue, there are devices specifically designed for this purpose. These devices do a better job of getting to the back of the tongue without triggering the gag reflex as well as 'scrape' the tongue clean. To best achieve getting to the back of the tongue, a person should stick the tongue out as far as possible and hold their breath to minimize gagging.
Mouth rinses are most often only effective for a short time in reducing malodors. Most often they only mask the odor and do not effectively deal with the VSCs that cause them. There are mouth rinses containing zinc and chlorine compounds that can significantly reduce the VSCs present in the mouth.
Proper attention to home oral hygiene helps maintain the overall cleanliness of the mouth and slow the spread of small-causing bacteria
Regular thorough professional cleaning appointments are also a great aid in treating halitosis.