Halitosis is pretty much as bad as it sounds, a condition that leaves you with bad breath. You might not even know you have it, either. Those who do might be too polite to say something about it. But Bedford Dental Group is here to clarify some of the particulars about halitosis
We all might go a little heavy on the garlic and onions from time to time, leaving us with occasionally bad breath. We all most likely are at our worst, breath-wise, when we first wake up in the morning. Our mouths are hotbeds for germs, so it’s natural that we wouldn’t be so fresh first thing in the a.m. But if you perpetually experience bad breath, that could be a sign of a more serious, underlying issue. But if you do suffer from actual halitosis, then we have some facts, pointers, and general observations for you.
So What is Halitosis Exactly?
First, let’s define what halitosis actually is. Actual halitosis is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria break down sulfur-containing amino acids, creating a pungent odor that emanates from your mouth. Some of the more mild cases of halitosis can be treated and alleviated with at-home remedies. But there are also more stubborn forms of halitosis that will need to be checked out by a health professional.
Halitosis Can Happen to Anyone
It doesn’t matter if you’re a child, an adult, or an elderly person, halitosis can strike anyone. Even toddlers can’t escape halitosis. An estimated 65 million people of all walks of life suffer from halitosis at some point in their lives. The only thing to be embarrassed by is going on knowing you have it without doing anything about it.
It’s a Bacterial Imbalance
Not all bacteria are created equal. Some of them are actually necessary in order to break down the food that you eat. But having too many anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that do not require oxygen to live) in your mouth can cause you to have bad breath.
You Can’t Mask this Bacteria, You Have to Remove It
You can’t throw in a breath mint and call it good. Anaerobic bacteria do not require oxygen to thrive, and they have some serious staying power, especially in the hard to reach places of your mouth. Tongue crevices, between your teeth, nowhere is safe! So you have to physically get rid of them by brushing and flossing. If you have braces, then it’s important that you clean those thoroughly as well.
Halitosis Can Have a Rotten Egg Smell
This is obviously due to the sulfur. Volatile sulfuric compounds get released when these anaerobic bacteria break down the food that you eat. Sulfur is a smell that people commonly associate with rotten eggs. Yummy!
Dry Mouth Also Promotes Halitosis
If you have a dry mouth, it means that you don’t produce enough saliva, which could mean that you have bad breath. Saliva plays a critical role in cleaning out your mouth throughout the day. Your saliva can also help neutralize bad breath odor. As a way to keep your mouth properly moisturized, it’s important that you hydrate throughout the day.
Smoking Causes Bad Breath as Well
Smoking can dry out your mouth and further contribute to foul odor. Also, the chemical compounds found in tobacco have unpleasant odors, tending to stick longer in the mouth and lungs, creating a cesspool of smell. If the glaring health problems that arise from smoking aren’t enough, quit because it promotes halitosis and even periodontal disease.
Coffee Breath is a Real Thing
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can dry out your mouth, and they can also make your breath smell bad. This odor tends to linger longer than other odors, too, making it distinctively bad. Concentrated coffee drinks (like espresso) have an even worse effect. The milk in your coffee can also lead to the overgrowth of bacteria.
Fasting Can Make Your Breath Bad, Too
Bet you didn’t know about this one. When you don’t eat, your body shuts down saliva production like an underage house party when your parents come home. Your saliva production shutdown allows bacteria to multiply exponentially, wreaking havoc on your tongue and palate.
There Are Foods That Fight Halitosis
Sugarless chewing gum, sugar-free candies and fruit chews, fruits and veggies, as well as sugar-free yogurt can all help fight bad breath. Herbs can help out a lot, too, especially parsley, cloves, and fennel seeds. Anything with chlorophyll will help, which acts as a deodorizer.
Bedford Dental Group can certainly help if your halitosis symptoms persist. We can have your breath minty fresh with our professional-grade equipment. We’ll clean your teeth and remove the anaerobic bacteria from your mouth. We’ll help quell your anxiety about bad breath in no time.