Executive Summary Video
Bad breath or Halitosis is caused by sulphur-producing bacteria on the tongue and throat. Poor oral hygiene, tobacco and certain food products, dry mouth, and coated tongue are some of the causes of bad breath.
Ideas to Get Rid of Bad Breath
- Brush your teeth after every meal. At least once a day, and more often if possible, floss the teeth. This removes food particles stuck between the teeth.
- Brush your tongue, especially the rear or throat side of it. Some people prefer a tongue-scraper. Make sure you store the scraper hygienically.
- Rinse your mouth with water every few hours to clear out foul-smelling stuff that gathers in your mouth.
- Stop consuming all tobacco products. They give a bad odour to the mouth. Nicotine in tobacco reduces the blood flow in small blood vessels in your gums. Tobacco increases the likelihood of your developing gum disease because it weakens your immune system. If you chew tobacco, various chemicals in it can irritate the gums leading to their recession. Many people develop dry mouth as a result of smoking. All these lead to bad mouth odours.
- Reduce intake of certain food products that can cause bad breath: garlic, onions, orange juice, milk, cheese, fish, eggs, coffee, alcohol, and legumes.
- Mouthwash and breath fresheners do not do anything to the odour-causing bacteria in the mouth. But they mask the foul smell with fresh peppermint or spearmint fragrance. Mouthwashes are to be swallowed, gargled, and spitted out. Breath fresheners are to be sprayed and retained in the mouth. The latter ones are convenient to carry for outdoor use.
- Chewing gums help keep the mouth from becoming dry. They stimulate saliva production, which moistens the mouth. Saliva is alkaline in nature and so neutralizes acids produced by the oral plaque. Saliva also flushes away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue and gums. These cells can decompose and cause bad breath, if they are not removed periodically. That is also the reason to rinse your mouth with water regularly. Sugar-free gums are healthier. Select those containing xylitol as the sweetener.
- There are many medical conditions that can cause bad breath, such as diabetes, acid reflux, digestive system disorders, and liver or kidney problems. Bad breath in such conditions cannot go away without treating the underlying cause. If your bad breath persists for a long time in spite of the abovementioned measures, do consult a medical practitioner to rule out these issues.
- Certain medications can cause bad breath, such as diuretics, antihistamines, decongestants, and antidepressants. In such situations, talk to your doctor if they can be substituted with another. If not, you will have to live with the problem and deploy some of the strategies more frequently but perhaps, lifelong.
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First published on: 22nd December 2021
Image credit: Keira Burton on Pexels