Bad breath is a condition that affects many people and can have many causes. Learn how to prevent it with simple daily habits.
Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath, expression most used to refer to an unpleasant breath. But what are its causes and how to prevent it? Learn everything about it, from A to Z.
Halitosis is a very common pathology all over the world and, in Portugal, it is estimated to affect around 49.5% of the population. It concerns the unpleasant odor of exhaled air and the person who has bad breath is not always aware of the problem.
Although, by itself, halitosis has no repercussions on physical health, it can be an indicator of another disease, as well as causing great psychological discomfort and conditioning socialization. It should be noted that bad morning breath is not considered pathologicalas it is due to the physiological changes that occur during sleep, and tends to disappear in the morning, after having breakfast and doing the oral hygiene.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Halitosis can be caused by more than 80 causes, and this is one of the biggest obstacles to treating bad breath. However, the vast majority of causes originate in the mouththat is, they are caused by bacteria of oral origin (cavitiesgum problems, not cleaning the tongue, fractured teeth, dentures that are not cleaned well).
But there are also other factors that can cause halitosisnamely:
- food: acidic foods, sweets, onions, garlic and other strong seasonings;
- consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages;
- smoking: decreases saliva flow, taste and irritates gingival tissues;
- dry mouth: without enough saliva, the oral cleaning action is compromised: it may be due, for example, to a wide variety of medications and problems in the salivary glands;
- General health issues: such as gastroesophageal reflux and sinusitis can affect breath.
The presence of bad breath indicates that we are facing an abnormal bacterial activity or an altered physiological mechanism and identifying the origin is of great importance in the early diagnosis of some diseases.
As we have seen, halitosis can be caused by numerous situations and can be one of the main symptoms that a certain pathology is present. Therefore, it is important to make people aware of halitosis, so that each one of us is capable of detecting it, since halitosis repeated occurrence of bad breath is a sign that something is not right.
Psychological consequences of bad breath
Although seemingly harmless, bad breath can have a great impact on self-esteem and socialization of the affected person. While there may be some concern about physical health, most people who suffer from bad breath are more concerned about the social implications this condition can have.
Being aware that you have bad breath can have psychological consequences and can lead you to adopt certain behaviors: covering your mouth when talking; maintain greater interpersonal distance; avoid social relationships. Furthermore, having bad breath continues to be a topic used for all kinds of jokes, increasing the stigma and preventing people from talking openly about this issue or seeking help to solve halitosis.
Is there treatment?
Fortunately, halitosis can be successfully treated, and today, it is possible to treat almost all cases. Before starting treatment, it is essential get a diagnosis and understand the underlying cause. There is no single treatment to combat halitosis. Appropriate treatment will be the most current and most effective according to the cause that triggered the bad breath.
How to prevent bad breath?
In most cases, preventing bad breath is easy. Take the measures listed below:
- brush your teeth well, twice a day or, if you can, whenever you eat something;
- brushing the tongue, as this is the main reservoir of bacteria that cause bad breath;
- do not use dental prostheses at night and carry out correct hygiene and disinfection of them;
- use an alcohol-free mouthwash to combat bad breath;
- avoid foods or drinks that cause halitosis;
- do not smoke;
- drink lots of water throughout the day;
- perform regular consultations of stomatology or dentistry.