Bad breath is one of the most weird ailments because usually the person suffering from it does not even realise whereas the others around him suffer. With 50% of the population begin affected by it, very few actually go to the dentist. So what happens to the rest? Are they already aware of the treatment for bad breath? Are they aware of the causes in the first place?
What causes bad breath?
The single most important cause of bad breath or halitosis is poor oral hygiene. If you are able to maintain a good oral hygiene, most of the causes of bad breath can be taken care of. Also, what is important to know is that the bad breath may only be a symptom for a more dangerous underlying condition. So here are some causes for halitosis:
- Poor dental hygiene
If one does not brush the teeth regularly, it results in the formation of plaque. Plaque a colourless sticky film of bacteria that can lead to periodontitis / pyorrhea, a gum ailment and can lead to bad breath. The tongue can also trap bacteria and lead to odour. If one is using dentures and they are not cleaned properly, the bacteria formation in the dentures can also cause bad breath.
- The type of food one eats
Digestion of food begins in the mouth by the saliva. The particles of food breakdown and cause creation of bacteria. Also, some foods like garlic or onions, after digestion, enter the bloodstream, reach the lungs and cause bad breath.
- Tobacco and tobacco products
Smoking or chewing of tobacco not only leaves a bad breath in the mouth but also causes gum diseases which could add on the bad breath.
- Dry mouth
Saliva helps cleanse the mouth (apart from helping in digestion). Xerostomia is a condition wherein the production of saliva is impacted and leads to a drier mouth. Without saliva, the odour causing bacteria might not get washed away and cause bad breath, typically morning breath. Chronic dry mouth can be a symptom of diseases of the salivary glands.
Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
- Medical conditions
Bad breath can be caused because of infections in the mouth typically after an oral procedure (tooth extraction or surgery). Occasionally bad breath can also be caused by bacteria in small stones formed in the tonsils. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can lead to bad breath. Bad breath, especially in children can also be caused by food particles stuck in the nostril. Other medical conditions like certain cancers, GERD and other metabolic disorders can also result in bad breath.
How to prevent bad breath? What are the treatments for bad breath?
Prevention of bad breath is easier. By making some changes to the lifestyle, one can easily prevent bad breath. Whereas for treating bad breath, it becomes critical to identify the underlying cause and take actions thereof. Here are some way in which one can prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth after you eat
- Clean your tongue when you brush
- Floss before sleeping
- Clean dentures or medical appliances regularly if being used
- Avoid dry mouth (drink plenty of water and avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine)
- Adjust your diet
- Regularly change your toothbrush
If, even after practicing all these, bad breath persists, then the dentist can advice on the following:
- Change in toothpaste or mouth rinses
If the cause of bad breath is plaque and increase in bacteria, the doctor might suggest a medicinal toothpaste or mouthwash. These would typically be anti-bacterial so the bacteria build up can be slowed down and bad breath be avoided.
- Other possible treatments
Treatment of the identified cause like gum ailments (periodontitis) or metabolic disorders (acid reflux or bloating) is the next course of action that the dentist could prescribe.
What does ayurveda say about bad breath? Is there an ayurvedic treatment for bad breath?
Ayurveda attributes bad breath to improper digestion and oral health. With improper digestion, ama i.e. toxins are developed in the body and they line the digestive tract. Similarly, with improper oral hygiene, these toxins appear either as plaque or the white deposits on the tongue every morning. This is a thriving ground for bacteria causing not only bad breath but a host of other ailments.
We usually resort to a mouth freshener (a mint may be) or change our toothpaste to the one that promises fresh breath but that is only treating the symptom at best. It is important to correct the root cause i.e. have a better lifestyle (vihar), along with proper food (aahar) ensuring we use the correct products for both digestion and oral hygiene.
At The Good Herbs, we offer the ayurvedic dant manjan, Good 4 Teeth to take care of all oral ailments, bad breath being one of them. For digestion, we offer our ayurvedic medicine for gut health, Good 4 Gut. A combination of these will result is perfect gut and oral health, the basic building blocks of a healthy being.
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