Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is an unfortunate condition that more than 50 million people suffer from chronically in the US alone. Halitosis can impact your confidence, lifestyle and relationships. There are various reasons that many people suffer from bad breath, and the treatment for bad breath varies based on the cause. Most people have experienced a bout of bad breath at one time or another from something as simple as eating certain foods, but be aware that chronic bad breath can also signal a more serious oral or internal condition that requires more attention. Read about the causes of bad breath and how to treat them below.
Symptoms of Bad Breath
Unfortunately, many times other people notice bad breath before you may become aware of the condition yourself. An obvious sign of bad breath is a bad odor coming from the mouth. Unpleasant or sour taste in your mouth can be another tale-tale signal of bad breath. If you see a white film on your tongue, this can be an indicator of bad breath too. You can do a test on yourself -lick your wrist, wait for the saliva to dry and sniff to see if you notice a bad odor.
How to Treat Bad Breath
- Keep up with your regular daily dental hygiene routine. One of the biggest causes of halitosis is excess bacteria that lingers in the mouth, between the teeth and on the tongue from poor oral hygiene. A first step at treating bad breath is to take control of your dental health by brushing for two minutes two times daily and flossing between every tooth. Mouth wash is a good aid to help better rinse the mouth of bacteria after brushing and flossing. You can also scrape the tongue to remove excess bacteria.
- Try natural remedies. You can purchase breath mints and rinses that freshen your breath almost instantly. Another great way to beat bad breath is by treating bad breath from the inside out. Herbs like clove, peppermint, fennel, tea tree, sage and myrrh have been touted to help alleviate bad breath. Drinking tea is also a natural remedy for fighting bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath. Zinc deficiency is linked to bad breath, taking a supplement daily can remedy halitosis. Drinking a mixture of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and water have all been mentioned as remedies for treating halitosis. Taking vitamin supplements or probiotics have also been mentioned as remedies of bad breath in those who suffer from a deficiency.
- Hydrate. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of bad breath. If your mouth feels dry chronically, you run the risk of developing halitosis. Drinking water is one of the best ways to increase saliva production, which helps naturally rinse the mouth throughout the day and night.
- Treat underlying medical problems. Bad breath can signal more than just oral health problems, illnesses in other parts of the body can manifest themselves in your mouth. Conditions in the body that have been linked to bad breath include gastrointestinal problems, sleep apnea, heart problems, kidney problems, stomach cancer, respiratory infections, diabetes and acid reflux. People with chronic post nasal drip from allergies often experience bad breath. If your bad breath cannot be resolved with simple hygiene methods, it may be time to visit your doctor for tests.
Moreover, talk to your dentist about bad breath, he or she can perform an oral examination to delve further into the root cause of your chronic bad breath. Your dentist may even use a device called a Halimeter, which is an electronic device that monitors hydrogen sulfide in the breath to clinically diagnose halitosis. Once your dentist has diagnosed your bad breath, together you can begin to tackle treating the root cause of the condition. Remember, not all bad breath can be treated with mints and gum alone, use these tips to take control of your bad breath.