OT walks with his shoulders high when it comes to his chosen course of study. He truly has every reason to be; he set the best record ever at the Computer science department of his alma mata having made a 1st class degree with a GPA of 4.99- a feat unparalleled before his entrance and after his exit from the institution.
He’s attended job interviews but has not been lucky so far but a particular one stood out like a sore thumb-he made the highest score in the written interview, then came the oral part, he performed excellently well and qualified for the final assessment which was oral presentation. It was done in the sitting position in close proximity to the interviewers. The lady assessor closest to him keep putting her handkerchief over her nose intermittently and whispered to other members of the panel and all of them seem to suddenly lose interest, they were anxious to let him go, he never heard from them thereafter! Then it struck him that the issue of old has come back to haunt him!! He’s had bad breath over the past 15 years, but he blames himself for not taking concrete steps to nail it in the bud; a stitch in time would have indeed saved nine.
What is halitosis?
Halitosis, a.k.a. chronic bad breath, is a condition in which a person emanates an unattractive odor from their mouth. The everyday “morning breath” most people wake up with is not halitosis. Neither is the five minutes of bad breath you’ll experience after eating the occasional spice-heavy exotic meal. True halitosis is a persistent smell that does not go away after brushing, flossing and rinsing. It can be demoralizing and embarrassing, so much so that many people are reluctant to even mention it to their dentist. But it’s also fairly common, and thus, quite treatable.
Causes of bad breath
1. Drinking and Eating Certain Foods and Drinks: Certain drinks and foods, particularly coffee, garlic and onions, are notorious for creating bad breath. Their tastes can linger once it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. Not only is the smell expelled through the breath, but the odors remain until the body processes the food.
2. Plaque Buildup: When one does not brush properly, or often enough, bacteria can form in your mouth, and it’s one of the primary causes of bad breath. This bacteria feeds on the food particles left behind on your teeth and gums and produce waste products that release foul odors
3. Infrequent Flossing: When you don’t floss, small particles of food can get stuck between your teeth and around your gums. These are tricky places where toothbrushes can’t quite reach. When food particles are left behind, they start to collect bacteria,which in turn causes bad breath and plaque.
4. Tongue Bacteria: Bacterial growth on the tongue accounts for 80‒90 percent of all cases of mouth-related bad breath. Poor oral hygiene results in plaque bacteria being left behind on the teeth and gums. These bacteria produce foul-smelling waste products that cause bad breath. This can lead to gingivitis, tooth decay, and cavities.
5. Smoking: Smoking is a major cause of bad breath. It can lead to serious bad breath and one may not even notice it because of being accustomed to the smell.
6. Dry Mouth: When your mouth is extremely dry, there isn’t enough saliva to wash away excess food particles and bacteria. Over time, this can cause an unpleasant smell if they build up on the teeth,
7. Morning Breath: The mouth produces less saliva while you’re sleeping so food particle bacteria multiply faster while you sleep. That’s why bad breath odors are typically worse when you first wake up. However, as was earlier mentioned, is usually temporary.
8. Infections: If you have an infection in your gum/ mouth from a wound, it’s an easy target for bacteria build-up. This can also happen following tooth extraction.
9.Medical Conditions: Bad breath can be the result of certain conditions, such as tonsil stones, respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, peptic ulcer disease, or liver or kidney ailments.
10.Postnasal Drip: If you have sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinuses, mucus can get caught in the back of your throat, which can cause postnasal drip. The mucus can collect bacteria, and eventually results in bad breath.
Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells, ask a close friend or relative to confirm. In addition to a bad smell in your mouth, you may also notice a bad taste in your mouth. If the taste is not due to an underlying condition and isn’t because of trapped food particles, then there is cause to worry.
What to do
Please visit your dentist/doctor for immediate evaluation
Change what you eat and drink. Keep track of the foods you eat and try to:
Avoid foods and beverages that cause bad breath.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less meat.
Drink more water.
Suck on sugar-free mints if your mouth tends to get dry.
Avoid tobacco use of any kind.
Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make sure to reach the gum line as well as tooth surfaces.
Floss at least once a day.
Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day.
If you wear dentures, remove them while you sleep. Brush a soak them during the night in a disinfecting solution.
Clean braces and retainers as directed by your dentist.
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