Is bad breath ruining your love life?
Bad breath is very ease to sort, but if you neglect it, the social embarrassment that it causes can be very significant.
Let’s face it, bad breath is one of those social stigmas that makes it very difficult to tell someone they’re a little ‘whiffy’. So before one of your best friends has to drop some gentle hints, let’s have a look at what causes bad breath in the first place – and what we can do to make sure that we keep it at bay.
You may well have heard bad breath referred to as halitosis, which is the medical term for the condition. It stands to reason that one of the most common reasons for the condition is bad dental hygiene, but it can also be caused by a host of other reasons – including various health problems which may afflict you even if your dental regime is very good.
It’s not something that occurs by accident, however, and it’s something which has probably been caused in part by your lifestyle – anything from smoking heavily to eating certain types of food – not to mention how well you control those scurrilous bacteria in your mouth.
What causes bad breath in the first place?
Regardless of whether you’re eating a steak or a jam sandwich, the process of breaking it down starts in the mouth. After it’s passed through the mouth, further breaking down takes place in the digestive system and in the bloodstream.
And from the bloodstream, the food energy that you’ve taken on board eventually ends up in your lungs – although not in a particularly solid format. This is why the food you eat can play such a big part in you’re your breath smells.
As you can imagine, this principal is particularly true when it comes to foods which have a very strong flavor. Garlic is one of the obvious culprits here, but most spicy or aromatic foods also fall into this same category.
And because the odour is emanating from your lungs, brushing your teeth tends to just mask the odour for a while, before it inevitably returns after a while. In a nutshell, the odour is going nowhere until the food at fault is has completely made its way through your system.
So is brushing important?
Very definitely, because if you don’t brush and floss on a regular basis, small particles of food will hide away between your teeth and form a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. You’ll normally see this happening between the teeth, in and around the gum area, or also on your tongue.
On its own, this could be the cause of bad breath, but if you already have the condition, then this will simply make it worse. The bottom line is that you simply can’t let up on your brushing and flossing regime. Another thing to remember is that an antibacterial mouthwash can help, but remember that the ability to kill bacteria is more important than how well it smells or tastes.
And one other point that might not be so obvious to you. If you’re a denture wearer, you have to be equally vigilant about the dangers of bacteria. So make sure that you take them out at night and give them a thorough washing the next morning before you put them back in again.
The demon weed!
If you’re a smoker – or someone who gets up close and personal to one on a regular basis – you’ll know that cigarette smoke on someone’s breath is not a very pleasing odour. Worst still, it can also cause stains as well as smells.
And if you don’t think that smoking is really that major a culprit, a look at what the World Dental Federation has to say on the matter might help to change your mind –
What else causes bad breath?
While we’ve outlined the main culprits above, bad breath can also be caused by a yeast infection in the mouth, for example, or possibly a poorly fitting dental appliance such as a dental bridge, for example.
Another relatively common cause is a condition known as xerostomia – often referred to as dry mouth. But as we’ve said earlier, the majority of causes are in your own hands – so don’t let up on your dental regime.
Be vigilant about making sure you get into those hard-to-reach spots – with either interdental brushes or floss – and if you have a tooth bridge or braces or similar, make sure that you brush in and around them to keep harmful bacteria at bay.