Mouth Odour or bad breath medically known as Halitosis is a common problem and is usually simple and preventable.
WHAT IS HALITOSIS?
Halitosis is an unpleasant smell coming from the mouth. It can occur on occasion or it can be a chronic condition.
Halitosis is an embarrassing condition caused by a group of anaerobic, sulfur producing bacteria that breeds beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area.
These anaerobic bacteria assist in digestion by breaking down of protein into Amino acids and in the process they excrete waste as odorous and bad tasting compound that cause bad breath.
CAUSES OF HALITOSIS
There are many risk factors and causes for Halitosis and even healthy people have bad breath on occasion.
1) Food: is a primary source of bad odor that come from the mouth, some foods such as garlic, onions, spicy foods, exotic spice (such as curry), cheeses, fish and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time, the odor is short lived.
Other foods may get stuck in the teeth promoting the growth of bacteria and dental plaques which causes bad odor.
Low carbohydrate diets may also cause the body to burn fat as it’s energy source.
The end- product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone- like odor on the breath when exhaled. This fruity odor in a diabetic might indicate uncontrolled blood sugars.
2) Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
3) Poor oral health: When a person does not brush or floss her teeth regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors.
Poor dental care can lead to a build up on the teeth can also lead to an unhealthy condition called periodontal (gum) disease. When plaque hardens,it is referred to as *Tartar*(calculus). Tartar holds bacteria that can irritate the gum and lead to gum disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis;if gingivitis is not treated,it can advance to periodontist.
4) Health problems: Sinus infection,pnueumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections,the common cold influenza(flu), tonsil stone(tonsillitis),thrush, bronchitis, postnasa drip, diabetes, acid reflux,(gastroesphageal reflux disease), lactose intolerance, other stomach or digestion problems and some liver diseases or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
5) Dry Mouth: also called xerostomia. Dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth and when the body does not produce enough saliva,bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorder medications or breathing through the mouth.
6) Allergies: Many medications used to treat allergies can cause dry mouth, another cause of .In addition,post nasal drip is a common allergy symptom that can result in bad breath. Sinus congestion due to allergies can also cause people to breathe from their mouths causing dry mouth.
7) Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
8) Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances such as braces can rot or cause bacteria and odor.
Some people wear brace to correct their teeth but don’t manage it well.
Loosing fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
For people that are using denture
As a young lady or woman,is not advisable to be using denture because of its effect on the gum.
So is better you go for either bridge or implant,though is more expensive but better and safer.
9) Medications: Many medications including antihistamine to treat allergies and diuretics can cause dry mouth which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include triamterene and paraldehyde.
10) Morning breath: Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stop during sleep, allowing odor causing bacteria to grow causing bad breath.
A times when you wake up in the morning,you this discover that your mouth smell.
11) Pregnancy: Being pregnant in itself does not cause bad breath, but the nausea and morning sickness common during pregnancy may cause bad breath. In addition, hormonal changes, dehydration and eating different foods due to cravings may also contribute to bad breath during pregnancy.
Other causes of bad breath: objects stuck in the 👃 nose (usually in children),so as mothers or intending mothers, you have to check your children nose when you discover bad breath from them.
Alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath. Not every supplements you will take, some sisters doesn’t have problem they just want to take the supplements as if is food ehn🤷🏻♀🤷🏻♀
PREVENTION AND TREATMENTS OF HALITOSIS
1. Stimulate your salivary flow : As have said before, a dry mouth gives the perfect environment for the group of anaerobic bacteria that causes mouth odor. So avoid a dry mouth by stimulating the flow of saliva in your mouth will help us to get rid of mouth odor. This can be done by chewing gum, lozenges or mints that are sugar free. The one that contain xylitol,a non-sucrose sweeter are best because they help you avoid cavities.
You can also have a bottle of water handy to drink from time to time throughout the day to keep your mouth from getting dry.
2. Good dental hygiene
How many time are we supposed to brush a day?
Brush your teeth twice a day (in the morning when you wake up and at night before you sleep but not immediately after dinner, you have to wait for about 30mins to an hour before brushing)
It is very important you don’t neglect to brush your teeth at night because while you sleep little or no Silva is being produced, so anaerobic bacteria have the perfect environment to thrive throughout your eight hours of sleep.
Brushing your mouth before you sleep will help to remove any food and plaque in your mouth before you sleep that the anaerobic bacteria can feed on while you’re asleep.
Flouride toothpaste should be used, alongside brushes with soft (but not too soft) bristles (so you don’t damage your enamel and gum).
Also try to brush within the range of 2 to 3 minutes.
Mouth washes (alcohol free) and dental floss can also be used after meals especially after meals that contain onions and garlic, dairy foods, meat, fish, refined and processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, sweets and ice cream which provide the ideal breeding environment for these bacteria.
3. Fibrous fruits and vegetables: remember the saying ‘An Apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Well in this case,we will modify it to, an apple a day keeps the bad breath away.
Eating fibrous fruits and vegetables like apple, bananas, oranges, potatoes e.t.c help moisten the mouth and remove the bacteria in the mouth thus helping you get rid of mouth odor.
4. Clean your tongue:(including the back of your tongue. Over time, there is a coating that forms on your tongue that becomes the host for many smelly bacteria.
It is important for you to remember to gently brush your tongue, including the back of the tongue.
If your brush is too big to reach the back of your tongue,you can get a smaller brush or something called a scrapper to help you reach back and properly clean the surface of the tongue, removing bacteria,food debris and dead cells that you might not have been able to remove by only brushing.
5. See a dentist regularly:for check-up
At least, visit dental clinic twice a year for scaling and polishing
For those that are wearing brace,get braces brush that will help you to remove all food debris on the braces and also make sure you go for your regular appointment as scheduled by your orthodontist
For those that are using denture,try to get either bridge or implant but for the time you are still using it, always clean it at night and put it inside water covered,don’t sleep with denture in your mouth,you may swallow it unknowingly and is only through surgery it can be remove when swallow.
6. For medications or allergies: treat the underlying medical issue.
Discuss with a health care professional whether there are other options for medications that can be taken.
Never stop taking the medication without first consulting your health care professional
7) Finally treatment during pregnancy
Maintain oral hygiene.
Do not eat strong smelling foods.
Regular dental check-up.
Include calcium foods for the baby’s sake.
Drink more water.
Rinse your mouth.
Brush with baking soda and salt.
Chew gum after food
In conclusion, please take good care of your oral hygiene because it has a lot.
This was a teaching anchored by Mrs Ruth Omotusi, a dental nurse on AYF Abuja DSF Online Program.