In This Article:
How To Treat Bad Breath
It is estimated that 20-25% of all people have problems with bad breath, or halitosis as this condition is referred to in professional circles. It therefore can be accounted as a full-standing medical condition. However, not everyone is in a hurry who knows about it themselves.
There are a number of reasons why you can get bad breath. In the mouth there is, for example, an almost unimaginably large number of bacteria, and out of the 92 known types, most give a lot of bad breath. In addition to what you eat and drink, the problem can also be caused by illnesses, smoking and generally poor oral hygiene – or a combination of various factors. Some foods are worse than others and if you suffer from this discomfort, you should reduce the intake of garlic, onion, red wine and other alcohol as alcohol dries out the oral cavity. Here are our best tips.
Halitosis may depend on different causes; however, in most cases it is related to oral cavity problems.
In a study, 406 patients with halitosis were equally distributed between the two sexes:
- In 86% of patients, halitosis was due to oral causes; specifically, among the oral causes, the most common one was related to lingual patina followed by gingivitis and finally periodontitis.
- In 5% of the cases, alitoid was due to otorhinolaryngologic diseases.
- In 3% of cases, alitoid was due to the addition of oral cavity problems with otolaryngological diseases.
- Only in 1% of patients the cause of the illness was in the gastrointestinal tract.
- In 5% of the patients it was not possible to determine a precise cause of the disorder.
These findings have been confirmed by other studies, so today it is believed that only 5-8% of cases of alytosis may be attributed to non-oral causes.
Therefore, the widespread opinion that bad breath primarily depends on gastrointestinal disorders is absolutely unfounded. Almost always the problem depends “only” on bad oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth, for example, alone is not enough; especially in the presence of alitoid it is important to also tackle the tongue’s brushing, so as to break down the microorganisms responsible for the production of volatile sulfur compounds at the base of the tongue.
In addition to mechanical brushing, tongue and teeth can be “cleaned” also by chemical means; in particular, rinses and gargles based on antiseptic chemicals, such as chlorhexidine, or capable of masking bad smells such as menthol, can favor an improvement in the situation. It should be emphasized, however, that the actual anti-halitosis action of such solutions is debated.
For correct use of the toothbrush, it is also necessary to combine the use of floss to clean the spaces between the teeth, where the bristles of the toothbrush do not reach. Periodic visits from the dentist allow to remove any tartar deposits by preventing gingivitis and periodontitis. Dentist can also evaluate whether oral hygiene of the patient is actually adequate or whether it needs to be improved.
How to treat bad breath with home solutions
There are many ways to conceal bad breath (halitosis), but if you are tired of temporary remedies and want to get rid of it once and for all, please follow the instructions in this article in detail.
Modify your own oral hygiene
Brush your teeth regularly. Bad breath is mainly caused by two factors: bacteria and decaying food particles. There are dozens of niches and cracks in your mouth where food residues can get deposited.
Save a small amount of toothpaste (about the size of pea) on a soft bristle brush and hold it by tilting it at a 45 degree angle to the gums. Brush every tooth across its surface with short, gentle movements, taking care not to apply too much pressure on the gums to avoid irritating them. Proper cleaning with the toothbrush should take about three minutes.
Wash your teeth and rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least twice a day. Also, use floss every day.
When using your toothbrush, make sure to reach every area of the mouth, including your gums and tongue.
Also, clear the tongue. Brushing your teeth is not enough. Since the tongue has a very large surface and is covered with grooves and protuberances, it can accommodate more bacteria than the rest of the mouth. Eliminating bacteria from the tongue can prove to be essential in treating bad breath.
On the market there are special brushes that clean the tongue; alternatively you can use a common soft bristle brush.
Brush the tongue with movements facing the tip and rinse the brush each time.
If you suffer from pharynx reflection, brushing the tongue may aggravate the problem.
Use floss every day. Cleaning your teeth with the floss is as important as brushing them with your toothbrush, and it is even more essential when you want to fight bad breath. Make sure it becomes a habit.
Initially, you might notice a gum bleeding caused by the removal of food residue hidden under the teeth from who knows how long. Smell for a second the dental floss you have used, if you have the courage: finally you will discover what the origin of bad breath is.
Use a mouth wash. Its function is to keep your mouth wet and to help you prevent halitosis.
Choose a mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide. Many of the bacteria that cause bad breath live on the back of the tongue, too close to the throat to be removed with the toothbrush or with tongue cleansers. Fortunately, running rigorous rinses with a mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide can neutralize them.
Try rinsing your mouth with mouthwash before using your toothbrush, dental floss and tongue cleanser. Repeat again after a thorough cleaning: this way you will be sure to neutralize all the bacteria present.
Modify some of your habits to treat bad breath
Try chewing a chewing gum. Any chewing gum will help you fight bad breath because by using your mouth you will produce more amount of saliva. However, it is good to point out that some chewing gum have better anti-halitosis properties than others: thus, cinnamon flavor seems to be particularly effective in reducing the number of bacteria present in the mouth.
If you prefer sweet chewing gum sweetened with xylitol (sugar would only nourish the bacteria and worsen the problems of unpleasant smell). Xylitol is a substitute for sugar that can counteract reproduction of bacteria inside the mouth.
Keep your mouth hydrated
A dry mouth is a smelly mouth. That’s why bad breath is especially noticeable in the morning, as while sleeping, it produces less saliva. Saliva is antagonistic to analogy because it physically washes the mouth by eliminating food and bacterial residues, but above all because it has antiseptic and enzymatic properties that kill the bacteria.
Chewing a chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva (in addition to masking the bad smell thanks to its flavor). Mintcandies do not induce increased salivation.
Roll it in the mouth from side to side. Water does not necessarily increase saliva production, but cleanses the mouth and is good for the general health of the body.
Having dry mouth can be a cause of some diseases or medications. Ask your doctor to help you cure the dry mouth or replace the medications you are currently taking with other less counterproductive ones.
Stop smoking and chewing tobacco. If you need another reason to put an end to a very unhealthy habit, know that tobacco is known to cause bad breath.
In some cases, halitosis may indicate the presence of oral cancer in the mouth caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. Quitting smoking and consulting your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis is vital.
Modify your diet
Eliminate odorative foods. Your body absorbs the flavors and smells of everything you drink and eat, so a particularly spicy cooking can be perceived for a long time in the breath. Think of eliminating the following varieties of foods from your diet, or be sure to brush your teeth carefully after eating them.
The plants that belong to the Liliaceae family, such as onions, garlic, leeks, and chives, are known for their pungent aroma. Eating such ingredients or foods that contain them can cause a particularly strong breath. It is good to note, however, that each of these foods also has significant health benefits, so instead of avoiding them, it is advisable to try to take them out of social occasions, for example, when dining at home alone.
Bring carbohydrates to the table. Did you know that a low carbohydrate diet can cause an “acetonic breath”? In practice, when the body feeds on fat, instead of carbohydrates, it creates ketones, some of which are released into the mouth. Unfortunately, ketones have an unpleasant smell, and they also condition the breath. If you are following a low carbohydrate diet or the one that it forces you to burn fat, consider eating some healthy snacks based on complex carbohydrates, eg eating an apple or banana.
Also, note that fruits containing high amounts of vitamin C help combat potentially harmful bacteria that can be one of the causes of bad breath.
You should also understand that brushing your teeth is not enough to completely eliminate the pungent aroma of raw garlic and other ingredients with strong odors. In fact, the body digesst those ingredients and the smell penetrates into the bloodstream and lungs and returns to the outside in the form of bad breath! If you are used to eating them in large quantities, reducing your intake (even without eliminating them completely) will greatly reduce your problem of halitosis.
Do not use the toothbrush immediately after drinking coffee or an alcoholic drink (or having eaten or drinking something acid). Acids can make the teeth vulnerable, and brushing them may be likely to cause abrasions in the enamel.
The same problem can occur in those who follow a fast or who suffer from anorexia. If you are suffering from anorexia, bad breath is just one of the reasons why you should stop starving your body.
Eliminate or reduce coffee and spirits. The chemicals contained in these drinks alter the environmental conditions of the mouth, favoring the reproduction of bacteria that cause odor. If you do not want to stop taking these drinks, be sure to always rinse your mouth after drinking them. You can use simple water or a solution prepared with water and bicarbonate (1 part of bicarbonate every 8 parts of water). After about 30 minutes brush your teeth carefully using your toothbrush.
Know when it is necessary to consult a doctor
Talk to your doctor. If you have diligently followed the earlier advice, but the bad breath persists, you may be suffering from some illness that needs to be treated by a doctor.
Halitosis indicates that there is something wrong with your body. Even if you modify the oral hygiene practices and the foods you bring in the bad breath symptoms do not improve, you are very likely to be affected by some imbalance, infection, or disorder that is the cause of it.
Find out if you suffer from tonsillary calcifications. These are accumulations of solid materials (food, mucus and bacteria) that stick to the tonsils and are visible in the form of white stains. Sometimes they may be confused with an oral infection (such as pharyngitis), while in some cases they may be too small to be identified in the mirror.
Tonsillary calcifications are often not dangerous to health but can cause bad breath. If you notice small whitish spots on the tonsils, try to scratch them very gently with a cotton swab (be careful not to choke or press too hard). If you can partially eliminate them and appear as liquid or in the form of pus, you may have a tonsil infection; on the contrary, if they do not come off or break into pieces of solid white matter (like a pebble) they may be tonsillary calcifications.
You may also notice a metallic taste in the mouth or a feeling of obstruction when swallowing.
Find out if you are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. Type 2 diabetes may force the body to burn fats instead of glucose, releasing bad ketones responsible for bad breath.
Halitosis may be caused by metformin, a type 2 diabetes medication. If you have to use it, ask your doctor to suggest some alternative.
Evaluate other possible causes. Numerous diseases that can cause halitosis, including for example:
Trimethylaminuria. When the body fails to break down a chemical called trimethylamine it releases it into the saliva, causing bad breath. The same substance is also expelled through sweat, so unpleasant odor may be a further symptom.
Infections. Various types of infections, including sinusitis and stomach infections, can cause bad breath. It is therefore important to always discuss any symptom with your doctor, including halitosis.
Pathology or kidney dysfunction. In particular, if you feel a smell or taste of metal or ammonia you may be suffering from a severe kidney problem. In that case, contact your doctor immediately.
Cleaning the tongue: why it is important in fighting bad breath
In about 90% of cases, bad breath (halitosis) depends on insufficient oral hygiene. In particular, the most frequently culprit involved is the excessive microflora that resides on the tongue.
Lingering in plaque, tartar and gingival pockets, lingual microflora produces volatile sulfur compounds (especially hydrogen sulphide and methylmercaptan) and other substances responsible for the odor, such as some short chain fatty acids.
For this reason, simple toothbrushing is not enough to fight bad breath; care should also be taken on sites that are difficult to detach from common oral hygiene practices, such as the surface of the tongue.
Cleaning the tongue is not just a formidable ally in the struggle of alien; lingual patina is in fact a reserve of microorganisms capable of influencing the bacterial flora of the entire oral cavity. A clean tongue means, therefore, a slowing down in the formation of bacterial plaque and its accumulation, which reduces the risk of caries and gingivitis.
Cleaning the tongue (brushing) can be done using the classic toothbrush or – preferably – using a special tool called lingual scraper. The toothbrush cleaning technique involves positioning the instrument horizontally, holding the handle perpendicular to the center line of the tongue, which must be extruded (that is, it is pulled out of the mouth so that it can reach the bristles at the rear of the lingual surface, where most bacteria are present). The toothbrush should be lowered with a slight pressure towards the tip of the tongue. It is preferable to use a soft bristle toothbrush so as not to too much stress the taste buds, at the sides and at the base of the tongue. You can also use the rubber back of the brushes specially designed to facilitate lingual cleaning.
Instead, the scraper should be moved back and forth on the surface of the tongue with a slight but firm movement, always moving from the inside to the tip of the tongue.
The take-home tips on how to treat bad breath
- Smoking increases the risk of developing gum disorders, which in turn increases the risk of getting bad breath. In addition, smoking dries out the mouth and reduces the saliva needed to counteract the bad smell that occurs when you breathe.
- Avoid foods that may cause bad breath, eg. dairy products, meat and fish. When the proteins in the food are broken down by bacteria in the mouth, sulfur compounds that smell badly are released. Even sweet drinks can worsen breath because they increase the growth of plaques.
- There are several spices on the spice shell that can help you with bad breath. This applies, for example, to parsley, fresh coriander and dragon, all of which are good to eat. You can also chew on coffee beans, dill leaves, cloves, ginger and cumin. You can also rinse around cardamom in your mouth as it helps to kill the bacteria.
- Brush your teeth after each meal. If you do not, you can rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free chewing gum, preferably with fluoride. Use dental floss or toothpaste every day and clean the tongue with e.g. a scraper to remove the bacteria that can accumulate and give rise to bad breath. Also visit the dentist and dental hygienist at regular intervals.
- There are a variety of diseases and drugs that can cause bad breath. The most common cause is inflammation of the tonsils, a condition that may become chronic and may cause the tonsils to be removed. In the disease list there are also chronic infections in the sinuses (especially the jaws sinuses) and the nose as well as polyps, kidney problems, diabetes, cancer and respiratory tract diseases (larynx, respiratory and lung) and gastrointestinal tract. The different diseases smell different: a diabetic breath can for example smell of fruit (ketones), while a person with kidney problems may have a breath that smells like urine. Therefore, contact a doctor if you have problems with bad breath and cannot find a direct cause.
- The more extra weight, the worse the breath. A group of Israeli researchers has arrived at this conclusion. However, the researchers have not found the answer to why it is. A qualified guess is, however, that obese people often experience dry mouth problems, which causes bad breath.
- Fluid in the mouth prevents bad breath without the mouthwash needed to refresh it. The fluid consists of spotting that contains dead cells from the tongue, the palate and the inside of the cheeks, which are rotating and therefore also stinking. Dry mouth will most often be caused by smoking, but some medications and obesity may also lie beneath it. The mouth is also often dry when you wake up after sleeping with open mouth. The so-called morning stink is due to the fact that the dead cells have not been washed away in a few hours. Therefore, be sure to rinse your mouth.
- There are several mouthwash fluids that protect against bad breath. For most people, however, only the products help to mask the problem and not remove it, as is the case with chewing gum and tablets. It should be noted that chewing gum and tablets stimulate the production of saliva, which helps to remove dead cells. Zinc, which is included in tablet form, has proven to be particularly effective and you can also rinse your mouth with teatree oil mixed with water. The oil is strongly bactericidal and tastes bad, but it can kill the Solobacterium moorei bacterium, which causes bad breath. Some mouth rinse fluids should only be used for short periods and at longer intervals, as they discolor the teeth and may affect the taste when used longer.
- Triklosan is a substance found in several toothpastes. American research has shown that the substance kills mouthbreaks that cause bad breath. At the same time, triklosan is closely related to the toxic dioxins and the EU has classified the substance as harmful to the environment and the health. The substance can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Dental Association does not recommend using the substance because you do not know if triclosan is harmful to health. However, the substance is effective.
- American research has also shown that both green and black tea prevent bad breath. It is the tea’s content of polyphenols which is the cause, because they kill the bacteria that trigger bad breath. As a bonus, research also shows that polyphenols enhance the effect of toothpaste and mouth rinse against bad breath.
- Alcohol can also be one of the causes of bad breath. This is because alcohol dries out the mouth. Thus, several odor-causing substances form in the mouth that can cause respiratory problems.