Is there anything worse than seeing people turn their faces away from you when you are talking to them? Millions of people suffer from mouth odour without even realizing it because people are afraid to tell them. It is important to keep in mind that you cannot eliminate the bacteria from the tongue that cause bad breath.
Bad breath is the presence of foul- smelling odour that seems to come from the mouth cavity. In more than 90% of cases, the odour originates in the mouth, throat and tonsils. Although this is something every one experiences at one time or another, if your case does not improve after brushing, flossing or rinsing the mouth with alcohol-free mouth wash, it may be chronic. The foul smell is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area. These bacteria do not require oxygen to live. They occur naturally in the oral environment and are essential because they assist in digestion by breaking down proteins into amino acids. Other causes of mouth odour include, dry mouth, food such as onions, garlic, coffee, alcohol, fish and meat, poor dental hygiene which causes bacteria to build up on the teeth and gums; illness and diseases can temporarily cause bad breath. Whatever the cause, all hope is not lost as there are ways to solve mouth odour problem. These include:
Drink plenty of water: Bacteria’s sworn enemy is oxygen, which is found in your own saliva. Drinking water makes you produce more saliva, which in turn neutralizes bad breath, so, always drink a lot of water to keep your mouth moist.
Scrape your tongue: Each morning, scrape your tongue with a tongue scrapper or spoon to decrease the bacteria, fungi and dead cells that can cause odour. Hold the tip of the tongue with gauze to pull it forward in order to clean the back of the tongue.
Rinse with mouthwash: Some mouthwashes do more than leave breath smelling minty; they contain antiseptic agents, such as cetylpyridinium chloride, to reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis, which can also cause bad breath. Studies show that chlorine dioxide is very effective at neutralizing the stinky volatile sulphur compounds created by oral bacteria.
Eat vegetables: Fibrous vegetables, such as celery and cucumbers, boost your mouth’s saliva production, which washes away odour causing bacteria. In fact, holding a slice of cucumber between your tongue and the roof of your mouth for about 90 seconds helps limit odour. Crunchy vegetables help remove plaque on teeth and gums, which bacteria can feed on.
Sugar-free gum: Again, it’s all about saliva. Chewing gum increases the production of saliva and chewing just one piece makes your mouth create up to 10 times more saliva than usual. But not just any pack will do. Sugar free mints also stimulate saliva production and temporarily mask odour.
Practice good oral hygiene: Brush twice a day to remove food debris and plaque and don’t forget to brush your tongue. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months or after an illness. Use floss to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day.
Arrange regular dental checkups and cleanings: You should see a dentist regularly, at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning and will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odour.
Stop smoking: Studies have shown that smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease and dry mouth. Furthermore, people who smoke may also engage in other habits that promote this condition such as dieting, drinking alcohol, and suffering from chronic anxiety conditions that require exacerbating prescription medications.
Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth: Try to address any snoring or sleep apnea issues that could be affecting your breath and causing dry mouth.
Wash your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products: Practicing consistent and thorough oral hygiene is an effective prevention tool.
Avoid drying medication: Try not to take antidepressants, diuretics, pain relievers, and antihistamines unless it is absolutely medically necessary. These drugs inhibit saliva flow and can cause chronic dry mouth.
By: Mercy Kukah