What is halitosis?
Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. It can result from poor oral health habits and unhealthy lifestyle habits. You can prevent and treat halitosis, at home or with the help of your dentist. It can have many causes and could be a sign of underlying health problems.
How bad is my Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Many people wake up with smelly breath, often called morning breath. But you may also have bad breath on and off throughout the day and not even know it. Here are some symptoms you may have that are associated with bad breath:
Mild: Dry mouth, plaque around the teeth near the gumline.
Moderate: A white coating on the tongue, postnasal drip of the feeling of sinuses draining down your throat.
Severe: A bad taste in the mouth, especially a metallic taste. A persistent foul breath odor may be due to sinus, throat, or lung infections. These need to be treated by a health care professional, too.
How to manage mild and moderate bad breath?
There are many things you can do on your own to prevent bad breath. These include:
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times every day, using a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush along the gumline, as well as all tooth surfaces. Each time you brush your teeth, use your toothbrush to clean the surface of your tongue.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food from between your teeth.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables every day.
- Avoid foods that cause you to have bad breath. Also try to avoid meat and alcoholic beverages, which often cause bad breath.
- Avoid using tobacco products.
- Sometimes a dry mouth has an unpleasant smell. If your mouth is dry, you can suck on sugar-free mints, chew sugar-free gum or drink more water.
- Most mouthwashes do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you use a mouthwash, swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night. Brush the dentures and soak them overnight in a disinfecting solution. Removable braces and retainers should also be cleaned. Follow the directions of your dentist.
- See your dentist twice a year.
How to manage severe bad breath?
If you can’t get rid of bad breath on your own, see your family doctor and find out if a more serious problem is causing it. Bad breath may be a sign of a health problem. Sinus infections, chronic lung infections, liver or kidney diseases, and diabetes are some health conditions that may cause bad breath.
What causes bad breath?
- Tobacco products
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor eating habits
- Gum disease (gingivitis)
- Dry mouth
- Infection in the mouth
- Some cancers
- Metabolic disorders
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