Solving the problem of bad breath is a game of hide and seek. We have all had the occasional conversation with someone with bad breath, and most of us have even had the occasional bad breath ourselves, but when the bad breath is a persistent problem, it can be embarrassing, and can even be a sign of a more serious problem. Most of the time the culprit is the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth (particularly on the back of the tongue). The mouth’s warm, moist conditions make an ideal environment for these bacteria to grow. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath measurements by 70 percent.
Some types of bad breath, such as “morning mouth,” are considered to be fairly normal, and they usually are not health concerns. This type of bad breath occurs because the saliva that regularly washes away decaying food and odors during the daytime decreases at night while you sleep. Your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells adhere to the inside of your mouth. Bacteria use these cells for food and expel compounds that have a foul odor.
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by:
• Poor dental hygiene
• Infections in the mouth
• Respiratory tract infections
• External agents – garlic, onions, coffee, smoking, tobacco, medicines and supplements
• Dry mouth – This can be caused by salivary gland problems, medications, or by “mouth breathing.”
• Systemic illnesses – diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, sinus disease, reflux disease, and others
• Psychiatric illness
So stop playing hide and seek with your bad breath. The treatment of bad breath depends on its cause. Once the source of bad breath has been diagnosed, the outlook for fresh breath is usually excellent as long as you stick to your physician’s or dentist’s treatment plan and recommendations.