Bad breath and halitosis: causes, symptoms and treatment
How to prevent bad breath? Bad breath is a common problem. One out of every seven people suffer from this unfortunate problem. It is quite an unaccepted problem; a taboo if you will. People don’t often tell one another if they smell a “not so fresh breath”. Approximately 15% of the population suffers from chronical bad breath (also known as halitosis). Luckily bad breath is treatable and also preventable!
What causes bad breath?
There are a number of reasons for having bad breath. Bacteria at the back of your tongue, gums and inflammation around your teeth and implants are the most common causes. Bacteria produce sulphur and this causes an unpleasant smell. On rare occasions a different cause can be found. Think about a nose- or frontal sinus inflammation or the re-production of gases due to insufficient closure of the stomach. Diseases like diabetes can also cause bad breath. In the professional industry bad breath is reffered to as halitosis or foetor ex ore.
The most common causes of bad breath:
- dehydration of the mouth (often due to medicine*)
- insufficient oral care
- tooth decay
- inflamed gums
- bacteria on your tongue
- inflammation of your tonsils
- eating certain foods on a regular basis**
Signs and symptoms of bad breath
The first signal of bad breath is a nasty taste in your mouth. A yellowish layer consisting of food scrapings and bacteria on your tongue and inflamed gums can cause this nasty taste. Of course your environment can give signals, but seen from a social point of view, it is not likely people will say anything. This is a shame because the sooner bad breath is spotted, the sooner treatment can start.
Impact of bad breath
A bad breath can cause severe problems on a personal level. Shame, insecurity and isolation can occur. By optimising your oral hygiene and taking care of your oral problems, suffering can be prevented. We only want you to feel confident, smile, shine and be your best self again. Take action!
Prevent bad breath
A good oral hygiene, as is mentioned, can prevent many problems. Make sure you brush your teeth well and rinse with mouthwash on a regular basis. Dr. Peter Blijdorp recommends using our bluem mouthspray with active oxygen.
What to do against bad breath?
The treatment depends on the cause.
- Inflammation of teeth and gums should be detected and treated by your dentist or dental hygienist.
- The oral hygiene should be optimalized, tooth decay should be treated and possible deficient restorations need to be handled or replaced.
- Drink a glass of water right after you get up in the morning. This will get your saliva going.
- Stop smoking.
- A reference to a specialist. When the cause is not to be found in your mouth, your GP can refer you to a otorhinolaryngologist. Certain hospitals have a so called “halitosis-office hour”.
- Use (sugarfree) sweets, a fresh mouthspray or chewing gum with xylitol. This can temporarily reduce your problem.
Bad breath? It can be your medication*
Medication plays a huge part in developing a dry mouth. Many kinds of medicine will reduce the production of saliva and increase dehydration of your oral mucous.
Check your medicine with your physician on a regular basis and reduce the dosage if possible. In consultation with your physician it can be decided to take your medication in the morning instead of the evening. Having a dry mouth at night damages your jaw more than during the day. Add products with xylitol. Xylitol helps increase your saliva production and is present in almost all bluem® products.
Impact of nutrition on bad breath**
Besides bad oral hygiene, smoking and inflammation, nutrition plays an important role. Spicy foods such as pepper, onion and garlic, acidic products and a lack of fluid can contribute to a less pleasant smell. Food-intolerance can play a role as well (gluten and lactose for example).
A few things you can do with nutrition:
- Drink at least 1,5 litres of water a day
- Eat loads of vegetables (fluids and fibres)
- Avoid the use of spicy foods
- Eat fibre-rich foods to help your digestion
- Limit your alcohol- and caffeine intake (both cause a water deficit)
- Drink at least 2 cups of tea with fresh ginger and mint to neutralise smells.
Frequently asked questions about bad breath
Can bad breath be caused by stress?
Yes. Stress can cause your mucous to become dry. And a dry mouth has an effect on your breath and taste in your mouth. Try and reduce your stress levels by eating wholesome foods, excersice on a regular bases and make sure you relax enough during the week.
Can the plaque on my tongue cause bad breath?
Yes. Bacteria will sit and “rest” on your tongue. This can cause plaque. Plaque can smell when you leave it there too long. We advise you to scrape your tongue on a daily bases to avoid bad breath.
Can a sore throat cause bad breath?
A sore throat is a sign of infection. And an infection can definitely cause bad breath from appearing. Make sure you treat your sore throat with the right products. If you think the infection is getting worse, go see your physician.