How can I permanently get rid of bad breath? is also known as halitosis is a symptom in which a noticeably unpleasant odor is present on the breath. It can result in anxiety among those affected. It is also associated with depression and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Concerns of bad breath may be divided into genuine and non-genuine cases. Of those who have genuine bad breath, about 85% of cases come from inside the mouth. The remaining cases are believed to be due to disorders in the nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, esophagus, or stomach. Rarely, bad breath can be due to an underlying medical condition such as liver failure or ketoacidosis.
Halitosis or oral malodor is an offensive odor originating from the oral cavity, leading to anxiety and psychosocial embarrassment. A patient with halitosis is most likely to contact primary care practitioner for the diagnosis and management. With proper diagnosis, identification of the etiology and timely referrals certain steps are taken to create a successful individualized therapeutic approach for each patient seeking assistance. It is significant to highlight the necessity of an interdisciplinary method for the treatment of halitosis to prevent misdiagnosis or unnecessary treatment. The literature on halitosis, especially with randomized clinical trials, is scarce and additional studies are required. This article succinctly focuses on the development of a systematic flow of events to come to the best management of the halitosis from the primary care practitioner’s point of view.
Treatment of Bad Breath
- Mouth rinses and toothpaste – If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. Your dentist may also recommend a toothpaste that contains an antibacterial agent to kill the bacteria that cause plaque buildup.
- Treatment of dental disease – If you have gum disease, you may be referred to a gum specialist (periodontist). Gum disease can cause gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving deep pockets that fill with odor-causing bacteria. Sometimes only professional cleaning removes these bacteria. Your dentist might also recommend replacing faulty tooth restorations, a breeding ground for bacteria.
Efforts may include physical or chemical means to decrease the numbers of bacteria, products to mask the smell, or chemicals to alter the odor creating molecules. It is recommended that in those who use tobacco products stop. Evidence does not support the benefit of dietary changes or chewing gum.
- Brushing the teeth may help. While there is evidence of tentative benefit from tongue cleaning it is insufficient to draw clear conclusions. A 2006 Cochrane review found tentative evidence that it might decrease levels of odor molecules. Flossing may be useful.
- A 2008 systematic review found that antibacterial mouth rinses may help. Mouthwashes often contain antibacterial agents including cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, zinc gluconate, essential oils, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine dioxide. Cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine can temporarily stain teeth.
- If gum disease and cavities are present, it is recommended that these be treated.
- If diseases outside of the mouth are believed to be contributing to the problem, treatment may result in improvements.
- Counseling may be useful in those who falsely believe that they have bad breath.
Natural Solutions For Bad Breath
- Worries about bad breath from time to time especially after a spicy meal or a cup of coffee. In fact, about 9 percent of people reported having bad breath within the past 6 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- For some people, bad breath is persistent and experts agree it’s likely a symptom of a more serious health problem.
- Coffee, alcohol, onions, and garlic – can all cause bad breath, as can low-carb diets like Paleo and Atkins. Yet experts agree the number one reason people suffer from chronic bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Millions of bacteria live below the gumline and on the back of the tongue. If they’re not regularly and properly cleaned, the bacteria will eat off the proteins and food particles in the mouth and release gases known as volatile sulfur compounds.
- See your dentist – It’s important to find out where the odor is coming from and whether or not it ’s due to a medical condition or a dental problem. Since bacteria can live in the deep pockets below the gum line, your dentist can make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly.
- Brush – It’s a no-brainer, but brushing after meals or at least twice a day will keep bad breath at bay. It’s also important to be methodical about brushing and make sure you’re getting all of the surfaces of your teeth and gums. “Even if you have one tooth that you miss every time, that can cause some pretty nasty breath,” said Dr. Joseph Banker, founder of Creative Dental Care in Westfield, New Jersey.
- Floss – An ultrasonic toothbrush is a good choice, but the best way to get below the gum line and in-between teeth is to floss right after you brush, every time. “If you leave food there constantly, it just sits and rots—and that smells,” Banker said.
- Drink up – If you’re not drinking enough water, your salivary flow decreases, which can cause breath to be more concentrated. Always carry water with you and be sure to drink throughout the day.
- Be picky about mouthwash – Mouthwash does a great job killing the bacteria that cause bad breath, but if it has a high alcohol content, it can be too drying and actually cause bacteria to grow, Goldberg said. Look for an alcohol-free mouthwash, and ingredients like menthol, eucalyptol or thymol instead. Also, wait 15 minutes after brushing to rinse so the mouthwash will be effective.
- Use a tongue scraper – Brushing your tongue only gets to the surface, but a tongue scraper used every time you brush is much more effective. “The tongue harbors tons of bacteria and it’s a huge surface area in the mouth,” Banker said.
- Have a glass of wine – A recent study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry finds that drinking red wine in moderation can inhibit the growth of bacteria. Be sure to rinse with water afterward to prevent staining.
- Bite into an apple – Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that require a lot of chewing help to clean out the teeth and the vitamin C will kill bacteria.
- Chew gum – Chewing sugarless gum throughout the day can help to clean out food particles in the teeth and keep the mouth moist.
- Drink tea – Swap out your afternoon coffee for a cup of green or black tea instead. Both contain polyphenols, which prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Take probiotics – A probiotic supplement may help to cut down on candida yeast that lives on the surface of the tongue, Goldberg said.