Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bad Breath...Causes and Cures

What Causes Bad Breath And What Can You Do To Stop Bad Breath

Most people believe bad breath is caused by eating or drinking consumables that are especially odorous. While this is partially true, a more in depth explaination is helpful to those of us who suffer from bad breath and are searching for the causes and cures.

According to experts. Bad breath is caused by "volatile sulfur compounds" in your mouth. These compounds are produced by the bacteria in your mouth. The odor causing compounds are found in amoung your teeth, under the top layer of your tongue and in your throat and tonsils.

Remember your high school biology class... I didn't think so. One thing I do remember from that class is that organisms such as bacteria pass the tests which classify them as "living". One of those tests involves giving off waste. Think about it, the stuff in your mouth that causes bad breath is bacteria dooty! 

When we brush, the easy to reach areas get plenty of attention. The front part of your tongue, your teeth and some other areas are much easier to reach than others. The other areas are the problem. The back of your tongue, your thoat and tonsils are areas that get neglected. The bacteria that causes bad breath resides in these areas just as in the easy to reach areas.

But what about mouth rinses. Don't they reach these areas?... Not really. The areas needing attention are the back of your tongue, tonsils and the deep part of your throat. To truly reach these areas and clean them in a manner that will stop bad breath is very difficult. To rid yourself of bad breath, you have to neutralize the volitile sulfur compounds caused by the bacteria in these areas of your mouth. This is why many of us gargle and rinse but still battle bad breath.

Until recent years there has not been an effective way to reach these areas and stop bad breath. It took a doctor working in a "breath clinic" to come up with an effective bad breath remedy. 

Now, if you're like me, you're scratching your head right about now at the term breath clinic. Once I learned the clinic was in California, USA, everything made sense to me. After years of battling bad breath myself, I decided to give this remedy a try. I ordered Dr. Katz' TheraBreath Plus Extinguisher Breath Spray. It comes with a swiveling head that holds down the tongue while it applies the spray to the hard to reach areas in the back of your mouth. This is the only product I've found that addresses the problem of reaching the unreachable areas of your mouth where odor causing bacteria reside. This was exactly what I was looking for and it worked like a charm.

I'm happy to say that my bad breath concerns are a thing of the past. The spray was an immediate remedy but for the long term, Dr. Katz suggests using an oxygenating oral rinse to nuetralize the compounds that cause bad breath.

Hopefully you find this information as useful as I have. 

Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  • Poor dental hygiene — Infrequent or improper brushing and flossing, allows bits of food that are stuck between the teeth to decay inside the mouth. Poor oral hygiene eventually will lead to periodontal (gum) disease, which also can cause bad breath.
  • Infections in the mouth — These can be caused by either a cavity in a tooth or by periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Respiratory tract infections — Throat, sinus or lung infections
  • External source — Garlic, onions, coffee, cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco. Smoking and drinking coffee, tea and/or red wine will contribute to your teeth becoming discolored.
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia) — This can be caused by salivary gland problems, medicines or "mouth breathing." A large number of prescriptions and over the counter medicines cause dry mouth.
  • Illnesses — Diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux disease and others
  • Psychiatric illness — Some people may believe they have bad breath, but others do not notice it. This is referred to as "pseudohalitosis."
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You may not always know that you have bad breath. That's because odor-detecting cells in the nose eventually get used to the smell. Other people may notice and react by stepping away from you as you speak, or making a face.
Other symptoms depend on the underlying cause of bad breath:
  • Infections in the mouth — Symptoms depend on the type of infection. They can include:
    • Red or swollen gums that may bleed easily, especially after brushing or flossing
    • Pus between teeth or a pocket of pus (abscess) at the base of a tooth
    • Loose teeth or a change in how a denture fits
    • Painful, open sores on the tongue or gums

  • Respiratory tract infections — Symptoms may include:
    • Sore throat
    • Swollen lymph nodes ("swollen glands") in the neck
    • Fever
    • Stuffy nose
    • A greenish or yellowish discharge from the nose
    • A cough that produces mucus

  • Dry mouth — Symptoms may include:
    • Difficulty swallowing dry foods
    • Difficulty speaking for a long time because of mouth dryness
    • Burning in the mouth
    • An unusually high number of cavities
    • Dry eyes (in Sjögren's syndrome)

  • Illnesses — Symptoms of diabetes, lung disease, kidney failure or liver disease
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A dentist or physician may notice bad breath during an office visit. Sometimes, the smell of the patient's breath may suggest a likely cause for the problem. For example, "fruity" breath may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. A urine-like smell, especially in a person who is at high risk of kidney disease, can sometimes indicate kidney failure.
Your dentist will review your medical history for conditions that can cause bad breath and for medicines that can cause dry mouth. Your dentist also will ask you about your diet, personal habits (smoking, chewing tobacco) and any symptoms. He or she also will ask who noticed the bad breath and when.
Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, mouth and salivary glands. He or she also will feel your head and neck and will evaluate your breath when you exhale from your nose and from your mouth.
Your dentist may refer you to your family physician if an illness is the most likely cause. In severe cases of gum disease, your dentist may suggest that you see a periodontist (dentist who specializes in gum problems).
You will need diagnostic tests if the doctor suspects a lung infection, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or Sjögren's syndrome. The type of tests you get depends on the suspected illness. You may get blood tests, urine tests, X-rays of the chest or sinuses, or other tests.
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How long bad breath lasts depends on its cause. For example, when the problem results from poor dental hygiene, proper dental care will begin to freshen the mouth right away. You'll have even better results after a few days of regular brushing and flossing. Periodontal disease and tooth abscess also respond quickly to proper dental treatment. Bad breath caused by chronic sinusitis may keep coming back, especially if it is caused by a structural abnormality of the sinuses.
Bad breath that results from an illness may be a long-term problem. It often can be controlled with proper medical care.
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Bad breath caused by dental problems can be prevented easily with proper home and professional care.
  • Brush your teeth, tongue and gums after meals and floss daily. This is the most important factor if your bad breath is caused by dental problems
  • If your dentist recommends it, rinse with a mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)
  • Visit the dentist regularly (at least twice a year) for an exam and tooth cleaning.
You also can combat bad breath by drinking plenty of water every day to help your body make saliva. An occasional swish of the mouth with water can loosen bits of food. Sugar-free gum or sugar-free breath mints can help you keep breath fresh and prevent plaque from forming. But be aware that consuming large amounts of sugar-free gum and/or mints that contain sorbitol may cause side effects. These can include diarrhea and bloating.

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