The way your breath smells says a lot about your dental and overall health. Bad breath is a problem that people have dealt with for thousands of years, and it remains one of the most common reasons why people seek dental services.
The medical term for bad breath is halitosis. This is derived from the Latin word "halutus" and the Greek word "osis" which mean exhalation and a disease-causing condition respectively.
The endless search to find ways to make a person breath smell fresher has led to a three billion dollar industry in the U.S. as people purchase mouth rinses, gums and mints to sweeten their breath.
Here are five important facts everyone should know about bad breath:
1. Certain types of bacteria lead to bad breath
Chronic cases of bad breath are caused by a particular type of bacteria that is found in the mouths of about 25 percent of people. Fortunately, there are certain types of mouthwashes that can be used to kill these bacteria.
2. Oral diseases can lead to bad breath
The two most common dental diseases: tooth decay and gum disease can lead to bad breath. While some products can be used to mask the odors caused by these diseases, the condition will persist until the underlying disease is addressed.
3. Most of the bacteria that cause bad breath live on the tongue
The tongue is a haven for all sorts of bacteria – including the types that lead to bad breath. These bacteria find refuge in the back of the tongue where even a tongue scraper or toothbrush cannot reach. These bacteria dine on food particles and create sulfur compounds that are also found in decaying organic materials.
Bad breath can also develop in other areas besides the tongue like the spaces between teeth and the areas the teeth and gums meet.
4. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath
Dry mouth can be caused by a number of issues, but it always leads to bad breath. Habits, like drinking coffee, alcohol, smoking or not drinking enough water, can all lead to dry mouth. It can also be caused by breathing with the mouth instead of the nose or as a side effect of certain medications.
A good way to fight bad breath is by avoiding the habits listed above and staying properly hydrated throughout the day.
5. Dieting can lead to bad breath
When dieting, a person's body begins to burn fat reserves leading to the smell of ketones on the person's breath. This has a smell that is similar to polish remover. When a person goes through elongated periods without eating or drinking, bacteria that lead to bad breath get more time to accumulate.
Nothing beats good oral hygiene when it comes to keeping bad breath at bay. Regular visits to the dentist are also important since these give the oral professional an opportunity to inspect the patient's mouth for issues that can lead to bad breath.
Contact one of our dentists to learn more about keeping your breath fresh.
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