Halitosis, or bad breath, as the name suggests is a condition with undesirable mouth odor. Human breath consists of highly complex substances with various odors, which can result in an undesirable condition like halitosis. Moreover, the mouth is a shelter to numerous bacteria that react with food particles and liberate chemicals with odor, causing halitosis.
What causes bad breath?
Bad mouth odor has multifactorial causes. Broadly, they are categorized into psychological and genuine causes. Psychological halitosis is one where the patient complains of having a bad breath, but it is not felt by a second person or a professional. Genuine halitosis, on another hand, can be felt both the patient as well as the other person in the patient’s vicinity.
Genuine halitosis can be physiological or pathological. Physiological halitosis is experienced in the morning after waking up and is due to hyposalivation and bacterial activity occurring at night. Pathological halitosis is due to an underlying cause, and it can be oral or non-oral in origin. Oral causes include problems arising from the oral cavity like tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disorders, oral infection, and plaque formation. Almost 90% of the genuine halitosis is of oral origin. Non-oral causes include diet and certain health conditions like pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, liver, and kidney disorders. Moreover, consuming certain medications and interventions like chemotherapy treatment also result in halitosis.
How to treat bad breath?
Treatment of mouth odor depends on the type of the underlying cause. Below-mentioned are some of the common bad breath remedies:
1. Professional treatment
Treatment: Professional treatment is mandatory in cases of gum disorders, where the infection is mainly between the pocket created between the teeth and gums. Only professional cleaning can help one get rid of mouth odor is such cases.
Mouth rinse and toothpaste: In cases of an oral infection, your dentist might suggest a mouth rinse that is effective in killing the oral bacteria. Toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent is also helpful.
2. Lifestyle changes
Brushing: Brush your teeth twice daily and after every meal if possible. Brush for a good 2 minutes, and cover the entire teeth surfaces. Fluoridated toothpaste is recommended with at least 1,350 ppm.
Floss: The space in between the teeth is the main culprit of oral infections. While brushing aids in dirt removal from the surface of the teeth, it is not effective when it comes to spaces between the teeth. Flossing removes dirt and plaque from between the teeth.
Cleaning tongue: Dorsum of the tongue is a shelter to millions of bacteria and dirt; therefore, cleaning the tongue is vital in preventing oral infections. A tongue scraper should be used for this. It should be used carefully and with a low force.
Hydration: Dry mouth is amongst one of the common reasons for bad breath. Consume plenty of water to keep the oral cavity clean and hydrated.
Diet: Avoid pungent food items like onion and garlic. Moreover, avoid the intake of foods rich in protein and sugar, alcohol, and smoking.
3. Natural remedies
Oranges: As mentioned above one of the causes of bad breath is dry mouth due to less saliva. Vitamin C in oranges improves the production of saliva that aids in flushing out bacteria.
Tea: Compounds in both green and black teas, known as polyphenols, keeps a check on bacterial growth, which is responsible for halitosis.
Herbs: Many herbs like parsley are rich in chlorophyll content and have a fresh scent, which can neutralize the malodor. You can chew few parsley leaves after every meal to mask mouth odor.