Bad breath also called halitosis, is a condition of unpleasant and persistent odour from exhaled breath. Bad breath isn’t always about underlying diseases. Bad breath can be embarrassing and it can affect one’s self-confidence. It doesn’t matter how well-groomed and polite you are, people will avoid interactions with you if you have bad breath.
To know if you have bad breath, you can smell your own breath. You can ask a relative or close friend to assess your breath. Some poor habits and certain foods can cause bad breath. The following are some causes of bad breath or halitosis.
Causes of bad breath
Tobacco products are likely to have gum infections due to the fact that a stale scent is created by the cigarette smoke that is still lingering in the throat. Most people that smoke have a smoker’s breath. Smoking tobacco or other products leaves chemical compounds in your mouth that mixes with the saliva and cause halitosis.
Eating certain foods like garlic, onions, spices, etc. can cause bad breath. Food particles breaking down around your teeth can increase bacteria and can cause odour. The chemicals from these foods enter your bloodstream, travel to your lungs and breathe them out.
Drinking water helps neutralize the mouth by producing more saliva. Without saliva to clean out debris, bacteria forms and causes bad breath. ‘Morning breath’ is caused by dry mouth which naturally occurs during sleep.
Poor dental hygiene:
Not brushing your teeth and tongue as required can cause bad breath. Food particles remain in your mouth and the tongue can trap bacteria that cause odour. Flossing also helps to get rid of food particles hiding in our teeth. Plaques which are colorless, sticky film of bacteria forms on your teeth.
Some underlying diseases:
Diseases such as cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke, other metabolic disorders and clogged nostrils can cause bad breath. Chemicals produced from these diseases can cause a distinctive breath odour.
Tonsil stones can also cause bad breath. What are tonsil stones? They are a lump of calcified material in the tonsils, the fleshy pad at the back of the throat. It feels like something is stuck in the throat, difficulty swallowing and painful.
5 ways to get rid of bad breath
See a dentist:
Visiting a dental clinic to see a dentist is an assured way of getting rid of bad breath. This is because your dentist can figure out what is actually causing the bad breath and give you the best solutions.
Dentists can prescribe special products for treating halitosis. Some products include eucalyptus oil, zytex, thymol, etc. which neutralizes sulphur compounds and kills bacteria that causes them. See a dentist twice in a year to have an oral examination and professional teeth cleaning.
Brush your teeth twice daily and floss to get rid of trapped foods. There are well-known dental products worldwide that can help with bad breath. Examples are euthymol toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide, longrich toothpaste, toothpaste containing fluoride, etc.
Try as much as possible to change your toothbrush after two (2) months. Brush your tongue as well because bacteria can be trapped on it.
Using mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. Mouthwash kills bad-breath germs and freshens breath to get your whole mouth clean. Chewing gums after meals also helps to prevent bad breath. Gum stimulates saliva which helps fight plaque acid preventing bad breath.
Moisten your mouth:
Drinking plenty of water during the day can help prevent dry mouth and help in the production of saliva. Without saliva there to clean out debris, bacteria have the chance to grow and cause bad breath. Rinsing or drinking the mouth with a glass of water helps to remove up to 60 percent of substances that contribute to bad breath.
Kick some habits out:
Try as much as possible to quit smoking. Besides causing sickness like cancer, smoking can damage your gums and stain your teeth which causes bad breath. Start programs or get medications that can help you stop smoking.
Avoid eating foods with plenty of spices, onions, garlic, etc. These spices are big offenders which travel to the bloodstream and travel to the lungs and affect your breath. Brush your teeth after taking foods containing too many spices and avoid eating them before going out or when you are out.
Natural remedies for bad breath
There are several natural remedies to treat bad breath both at home and professionally.
i. These natural remedies are cheaper and results take some time. Grinding the leaves of turkey berries is one of them. Strain the liquid from the turkey berry leaves and then put a few drops in your nostrils. Repeat this method three (3) times daily for three (3) days. Results are best known after a week.
ii. Chewing herbal spices like ginger and cloves could help get rid of bad breath. Ginger can be chewed three (3) times daily in small portions. For the cloves, they should be chewed intermittently in little amounts. Chewing two (2) cloves every day for a few weeks also helps to get rid of bad breath. If you cannot chew the cloves, soak them overnight with warm water and use them as a mouthwash after brushing.
iii. Squeezing lime into coconut water every morning and rinsing it in your mouth after brushing also helps with bad breath.
iv. Cinnamon is good for bad breath because it contains an essential oil that kills the bacteria in your mouth. To make cinnamon mouthwash, combine a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder and two drops of lemon. Pour a cup of warm water over the mixture, stir evenly and use it as a mouthwash.