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Halitosis!: let’s talk bad breath.

Imagine rushing to an almost full elevator heading to your office on the 15th floor, and you can’t help but join the elevator because you are running late for a scheduled appointment. Being polite, you exchange greetings with the people on the elevator, and the beautiful lady standing beside you responds to your greeting. You have that urgency to puke because she is standing close enough for you to notice the odour in her breath. You could not tell in particular what the smell was, but it was a mixture of garlic and sour food from many nights ago. 

You tried to move your nose away, tried to grasp for air, fresh air, but all you got was staleness and bad breath because you were in an enclosed space. She starts a conversation with her colleague; you want her to stop talking. You want to tell her how her breath stinks but can’t, for fear you’d appear rude.

 Should you offer her the mint in your pocket? 

What about telling her to go see a dentist? She’d ask you why when she was so confident she had no toothache. So, while stuck in that elevator packed like a can of sardine, you muster the courage to tell her, regardless of the consequences. 

  “Ma,” you said, offering her the mint in your pocket.

” Do you know what halitosis is”? 

Halitosis is a term used to describe a persistent and unpleasant odour exhaled from breath. You can just say bad breath if you like, but it occurs mainly because of sulphur-producing bacteria in the tongue and throat. Bad breath typically originates in the mouth, where bacteria are ever-present. When you eat, bits of food get caught in your teeth. Bacteria grow on these bits of food, releasing foul-smelling sulfur compounds. The most common cause of halitosis is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss often, the bacteria in the mouth will continue to grow and eventually cause a thin film of bacteria known as plaque build-up on the teeth. When this plaque isn’t brushed away at least twice daily, it produces a foul odour and leads to another smelly process called tooth decay.  Bad breath or halitosis may also be because of acid reflux, which partially regurgitates foul-tasting liquid. Other likely causes include; infections, diabetes complications, and renal conditions.

 Causes of Halitosis

Halitosis is caused by the following.

 Poor oral hygiene:  Improper brushing, flossing, and routine dental exams can cause food particles to remain in the mouth. This serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. The Food that collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue may rot and cause an unpleasant odour and taste in the mouth.  

Certain foods:  The Food you eat is linked to your oral health, including your breath. Items such as garlic, onions, or food are absorbed into the bloodstream. Until that food leaves the body, it has the potential to affect your breath.

 Dry mouth (Xerostomia): This condition is often a key part of halitosis. Xerostomia is a condition whereby there is a major decrease in saliva production. This condition causes the mouth not to cleanse itself by removing debris and particles left behind by food. A dry mouth may be caused by certain medicines, a salivary gland disorder, or always breathing through the mouth instead of the nose.

Tobacco use:  Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snuff stain the teeth and put the body at risk of various diseases. But They also help cause bad breath. Tobacco users are also at higher risk for conditions such as periodontal disease, Loss of ability to taste, irritated and inflamed gums, and Oral cancer.

What Can I Do to Prevent Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you do:

Practice good oral hygiene: Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque is crucial in stopping bad breath. It is also important to brush after each meal. Don’t forget to brush the tongue too, or use a tongue scraper since bacteria on your tongue can contribute to bad breath. If you can’t brush after a meal, give your mouth a good rinse with water to at least loosen up and free those trapped bits. Replacing your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness is also very important. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque that may have stuck between the teeth at least once a day. 

Visit the dentist regularly: visiting a dentist at least twice a year is important. They will carry out oral examinations and professional teeth cleaning. Also, they will find and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may cause bad breath.

Quit smoking: 

Quitting smoking and chewing tobacco-based products. Is important if you must avoid bad breath.

Drinking a lot of water. This will keep your mouth moist always. Chewing sugarless gum and mint also stimulates saliva production, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are highly recommended. 

Nutritional Diet:

 Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat. Fruits such as  Apples, carrots, celery, and other hard fruits and vegetables help clear odour-causing plaque and food particles from your mouth. Drinks rich in 100% fruits is highly recommended since they help keep the mouth moist and provide vitamins needed for healthy teeth and gums and fresh breath.

Content Writer:

Ahmed Abubakar

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