By Mitali Parekh
Posted On Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 02:23:52 AM
Bad breath is less embarrassingly known as the medical condition halitosis. Besides being a result of obvious habits such smoking and a fondness for garlic, it could also be indicative of diseases. Dr Shantanu Jaradi of Dentzz Dental Care says halitosis could have oral and non oral origins.
According to Jaradi, most cases of foul breath are due to oral causes. “Even if a person brushes twice a day, there can be oral infection that could cause bad breath,” he says. “Mouthwashes are not effective and work temporarily.”
Dental decay is one of the leading causes and can be checked if you visit the dentist twice a year for a check-up. Food lodgement is the second biggest cause, which is why it is important o rinse your mouth with water after every meal. “Food that gets caught in nooks and crannies of your teeth,” says Jaradi, “rots and gives your mouth the foul odour. Since it is not possible to brush after every meal, you must rinse or at least drink some water, letting it swivel in your mouth. Otherwise the food particles stay there until you brush next, which could be many hours later.”
Gingivitis and periodontitis are two bacterial infections that affect the gums and the supporting tissues and cause bad breath. Other symptoms include receding, bleeding or swollen gums. This condition needs doctor’s attention immediately.
Drop a mint
How do you tell someone to grab a toothbrush? Here are a few ways you can try:
• Offer them a mint
• Say their mouth seems to have gone dry and offer water
• Talk about this newspaper article you read about halitosis
• Talking about the new mouthwash
• Back away noticeably every time the speak.
Xerostomia or the dry mouth condition is caused by insufficient generation of saliva. The function of saliva is to wash away the plaque that builds up on and between the teeth. If plaque is not regularly removed, it can cause dental decay, and also mineralises into tartar over a period of time. This usually happens in places that are hard to reach and overlooked during brushing. Tartar cannot be cleaned with regular brushing and needs professional scaling.
It’s in the system
“If foul breath persists even after possibility of oral infection is ruled out,” says Jaradi, “it’s time to look inwards.” bad breath is a secondary symptom for many diseases such as an infection of the lungs, lung cancer, oral cancer, diabetes, kidney or liver failure. Those suffering from kidney failure have urea breath.
It can also happen due to ketoacidosis, which happens in a low carb diet when the liver is forced to break down fats and proteins due to insufficient carbs. Thus people on a crash diet as more susceptible to it and the resulting breath is likened to fruits or nail polish remover.
Stomach infections and intestinal blockage result in faecal breath.
How to prevent bad breath
• Brush twice a day
• Visit your doctor every six months to remove tartar
• Rinse your mouth vigorously after every meal
• Drink ample water
• Include carbs in your diet
• Chew sugar free gum after meals
• Suck on a lemon.