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Causes of Halitosis (Bad Breath) and Tips for Avoiding It

Halitosis is a condition in which a foul odor comes from a person’s mouth. In other words, bad breath, and there can be a whole range of causes. If you have it, you have to cure it not just to save you from embarrassment, but more importantly to protect you against an underlying health problem that could be manifesting as halitosis at this point.

The Tongue

About 90% of bad breath-causing bacteria live on the tongue. In particular, these germs may cover those minute papillae, leading to halitosis. Give your tongue a long, hard look in the mirror. If you find kind of a coating on top, then you may have halitosis. When brushing their teeth, some people forget about their tongue, which requires regular cleaning too. A tongue scraper works better though (instead of a toothbrush) to get rid of the coating, which is practically a combination of food bits, bacteria and dead cells.

Throat Issues

The bad odor from the mouth may also begin in the throat. A common throat condition that brings bad breath is tonsillitis – when tonsils are infected and there are tonsil stones, halitosis results. Respiratory tract infections of any kind can cause this condition too, such as pneumonia, chronic sinus infections and even chronic acid reflux, to name a few.

Gastrointestinal Causes

Halitosis can also be caused by problems in the gastrointestinal system. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is characterized by stomach acids, which may include undigested food and bile, flowing back into the esophagus and causing bad breath. When vomiting becomes dehydrating, it can cause bad breath too as the mouth dries. Saliva lubricates the mouth and washes away leftover food bits and bacteria.

Dental Issues

Dental health issues like gum disease and dental cavities are also likely causes of halitosis. So if you have any of those, you might want to have it fixed by your dentist before it causes bad breath, if it hasn’t. Yes, it could be a dental issue, but it could also be something else entirely. If your dentist thinks it’s beyond dentistry, they will give you advice as necessary.

Tips for Fighting Bad Breath

– Drink enough water everyday (dry mouth equals bad breath). – Every night before hitting the sack, remove your dentures and clean them well. – Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss everyday as well. – Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. – Stay away from tobacco and odor-causing foods such as raw garlic and onions. – Have more fennel seeds, aniseeds and cloves in your diet for their antiseptic benefits; and fresh herbs, such as mint and parsley, for their ability to neutralize odors.

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