Halitosis is the medical term used for the condition we commonly know as bad breath. It is also termed as Fetor Oris, where fetor refers to an unpleasant odor emanating from an individual. The condition may cause embarrassment in social situations, lead to increased anxiety and become a thought-irritant, playing constantly on your mind.
Depending on the symptoms and the underlying cause, halitosis could occur as a singular incident – an acute condition or could persist over a longer period in a chronic form. It is the third most common reason for you to visit your dentist, the first being tooth decay and second, gum disease.
Symptoms Of Bad Breath
Bad breath goes unnoticed until someone comes nearby and points out the condition. When people around you – friends, relative, colleagues, start maintaining a physical distance it may be because of bad breath.
Other signs may include:
· An unpleasant/sour taste
· Dry mouth
· Changes in taste
· Tongue coating
Causes Of Bad Breath
The condition of halitosis is one which all of us have to suffer through at some time. For some, it may cause significant distress and psychological anguish. Causes of Fetor Oris or bad breath include:
· Food – A primary reason for bad odor from the mouth is food. Food stuck in the teeth, or its breakdown chemicals are often the cause of bad breath.
· Dry Mouth –When the body fails to produce enough saliva; as a result, the mouth goes dry, and odors build up.
· Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can leave breakdown chemicals in the mouth that carry their distinct odor. Smoking can also lead to other bad-breath causes like gum diseases or oral cancers.
· Poor Dental Hygiene – To ensure that no food particle is left behind in the mouth, brushing and flossing the teeth is recommended for a good oral health.
· Medications – Antihistamines to treat allergies, nitrates used to treat angina, and even vitamin supplements have been known to cause Halitosis.
· Dentures/Braces – Food particles that are left uncleansed from braces can rot in the metal and cause plaque formation that makes the mouth smell rancid.
Cure Bad Breath
Treatment for bad breath follows the cause-effect rule. In case halitosis exists because of health issues like sinusitis, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, etc, the treatment for these conditions needs to be treated to fix the problem of bad odor.
Fetor Oris occurring from medication side effects needs to be discussed with your healthcare professional. Changes in medication may be prescribed if the condition of halitosis is getting hard to manage.
The most common ways to cure bad breath are given below:
· Brush your teeth and floss regularly, maintain oral hygiene.
· Mouthwash is an effective way of masking bad breath and keeping the mouth bacteria free.
· Give up your tobacco habits, instead chew gum or suck on mints.
· Make regular trips to your dentist.
· In case of dentures/braces, get them checked by your orthodontist regularly.
Home Remedies To Cure Bad Breath
· Use Proper Oral Care Products – Using mouthwashes or toothpaste that have an alcohol constituent should be avoided at all costs. Alcohol – being a dry agent, makes the mouth dry and worsens the condition of halitosis. Products with natural ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, green tea should be preferred as they carry oxygen compounds that kill bacteria and prevent bad breath without making the mouth dry.
· Baking Soda – Used as an orals rinse (1/2 spoon soda + 1 glass warm water) or rubbed into the gums by brush, bicarbonate of soda is an effective home remedy against bad breath. The soda acts as a balancing agent in the bloodstream to control the acid levels that cause bad breath. Also, baking soda helps fight the oral bacteria in the mouth.
· Apple Cider Vinegar – Another pH balancing home remedy, apple cider vinegar proves to be a great way of curing bad breath. Mix one tablespoon of it in a glass of warm water and drink it before meals. Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a gargle by mixing with a cup of water.
· Green/Black Tea – Herbal teas made from green tulsi, mint or sage are an effective combatant against Fetor Oris. The polyphenols present in these teas, as well as the normal black tea, has an antioxidant property which keeps oral bacteria growth in check.
· Mouth Fresheners – Chewing on mint leaves or fennel can cut down on the oral bacteria thrive and keep the mouth fresh. Lozenges, gum or other sugar-free mints maintain the saliva flow in the mouth.
· Eat Fruits And Fibrous Foods – A diet heavy in processed foods aggravates the condition of Haliotosis. Fruits rich in fiber help with digestion and maintain chemical balance in the body. Fruits like apples that are rich in antioxidants are not only good for killing off bacteria but also keep the mouth moistened.
· Nose/Mouth Breathing – Sometimes you tend to breathe through the mouth instead of the nose and most of the time this causes ‘dry mouth.’ Make a conscious effort to breathe in and out through the nose, so the mouth stays well hydrated.
· Use Oral Probiotics – Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can replace the unhealthy odor causing bacteria and promote oral hygiene. K12 and M18 are two such probiotics that have been effective in controlling bad breath.
· Avoid Dairy Products – If you are lactose intolerant, eliminating dairy products from your diet proves to be an effective home remedy.
· Dietary Supplements – Supplements rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin D, and vitamin E, help the body to neutralize infections and the related mucus and toxin formations. They facilitate the flow of excess mucus that causes bad breath.