Most adults and many children suffer from bad breath at one time or another, and for some, bad breath never goes away. The medical term for this condition is halitosis. Worse yet, a person with bad breath is normally unaware that they have it until someone tells them.
The majority of cases of bad breath come from the mouth (90%). The presence of decay or gum disease along with poor oral hygiene causes the problem. This is because our mouth is full of bacteria and if allowed to get out of control will cause bad breath.
There are two types of halitosis: transitory and chronic. Transitory halitosis is caused by foods such as onions or garlic, but only lasts 24 — 72 hours. Chronic halitosis does not improve with time and breath fresheners and supermarket mouthwashes only camouflage the problem for a few hours. The odour of halitosis results when bacteria in the mouth, teeth and tongue cause the formation of volatile sulphur compounds. These compounds produce the "rotten egg" smell.
So what can you do?
- Firstly a thorough dental examination is required to detect areas of decay and gum disease. Areas where food can trap between teeth and broken fillings lead to a build up of bacteria and therefore bad breath.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.
- Tongue cleaning. Having stated that most odours originate in the mouth, studies show that 50% of oral bacteria live on the surface of your tongue. Brushing the surface of your tongue with a tongue scraper removes these bacteria.
- Special mouthwashes are now available which actually eliminate the volatile sulphur compounds — the cause of the bad breath.
- If you are concerned about your own or your partner’s breath, speak to us so that we can assess the situation so that we can put you on the road to fresh breath.