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How to deal with bad breath

How to deal with bad breath

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Tunde Ajaja

It’s one subject of discourse many people shy away from, for reasons that seem somewhat understandable. And the way some people cover their mouths or squeeze their faces when the phrase ‘mouth odour’ is mentioned would almost make it look like it could be contagious.

Perhaps, it’s that disgusting and some people seem to wonder why anyone on earth could have such a medical condition.

But as repulsive as it is, the Bad Breath Institute in the United States found that one in four persons in the world has bad breath, which is also known as halitosis. It also found that about 35 to 45 per cent of people in the world have some level of bad breath. It also said about 99 per cent of people relatively have not too pleasant breath in the morning. Thus, it is some people’s reality.

To those who knew Julius (surname withheld), a mid-level civil servant, closely, they knew it was best to listen to him speak from some distance, than be close to him. The odour that oozes from his mouth could make anyone puke in no time.

At 33, he said he had lost count of the number of relationships he initiated that crashed shortly after he became close to such ladies. That probably explains why he’s single till date.

“Initially, I didn’t know they (ladies) opted out of the relationship, but my last girlfriend sent me a text message after she broke up with me, advising me to find solution to my breath quickly before it led to public ridicule, and you know what, that was the first time I was hearing it,” he added.

Paying attention to one’s breath is even more necessary because it has been found to lead to stress, and sometimes it causes depression. “Bad breath sufferers are 60 per cent more likely to suffer from stress than non-sufferers, while 57 per cent of bad breath sufferers report feelings of depression because of their problem,” the institute’s report added.

Meanwhile, people are wont to tie halitosis to poor oral hygiene only, but it is worthy of note that there are other causes of bad breath, as highlighted by Medical News Today. These include consumption of tobacco products, certain kinds of food, like garlic, onions, spicy foods, coffee, food particles stuck in the mouth and dry mouth, which means there is no enough saliva that should wash away the bacteria in the mouth.

It added that some drugs produce odours, and that mouth, nose and throat conditions, certain medical conditions, like some cancers, liver failure and certain metabolic diseases, like gastroesophageal reflux disease, due to the regular influx of stomach acids also lead to bad breath.

And beyond these, other factors include bowel obstruction, aspiration pneumonia and bronchiectasis, which is a long term condition in which case airways become wider than normal, allowing for a build-up of mucus that leads to bad breath.

These imply that bad breath could actually be a product of many things.

Given the embarrassment and of course the psychological discomfort it causes, experts have suggested the following tips on how to address or avoid bad breath;

Brush twice daily: Brushing the teeth at least twice daily has been found to be a good way to get rid of bad breath. Experts say brushing in the morning addresses the bad breath in the morning, which comes about when the mouth dries out during sleep, leading to a decrease in the normal flow of saliva that should have flushed out odour-producing bacteria. The experts also advised that brushing before going to bed would help to get rid of food particles that could hide inside the teeth or in the mouth. Some even advise people to brush after every meal, if possible, especially people who have hole in the teeth, known as cavity.

Flossing: This involves using thin filaments to remove food and dental plaque from spaces between the teeth. It is particularly effective for places where toothbrush might not reach. MNT noted that flossing is more effective in reducing build-up of those food particles and that brushing only cleans around 60 per cent of the tooth surface, leaving the spaces and the inner part untouched. Meanwhile, some experts also advise the use of mouthwash.

Change toothbrush regularly: For some people, until a toothbrush practically falls apart or all the strands had pulled out, they hardly change it and they could use it for over a year, and even more. But according to experts, people should change their brush every two to three months. The longer the use, the less effective it tends to be in ridding certain parts of the teeth of dirt. People are also advised to use the type of brush – soft or hard – that does not injure their gum, so that the likely pain doesn’t deter them from touching all the areas they should.

Brush your tongue always: Findings have also shown that bacteria, food and dead cells build up on the tongue, which could produce some foul smell. And it has been found to be more serious in people who smoke. Thus, people are advised to wash their tongues every time they brush their teeth.

Make sure your mouth is always hydrated: This factor explains why dentists and oral dentologists advise people to drink a lot of water or always make sure they have water close to them so that their mouth would not at anytime be dry. Beyond taking water, MNT also found that chewing gum could help to stimulate the production of saliva, which has been found to help in flushing out bacteria from the mouth.

Mind what you conasume: One other important factor in dealing with bad breath is for people to be mindful of what they take in. Consumables like onions, locust beans, coffee, alcoholic drinks and caffeinated drinks, and smoking have been linked to bad breath. Thus, people are advised to be mindful of these.

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