Everything You Need to Know About Halitosis

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Halitosis, better known as bad breath, can be a very frustrating and embarrassing problem. It’s also very common! It’s estimated that there are around 80 million people worldwide with bad breath, and around half of all cases are believed to occur within the United States. Sometimes, we can’t always tell if we have bad breath, but there is a trick – lightly lick the inside of your wrist and allow the saliva to dry. If it smells, then you may be suffering with halitosis. The good news is that halitosis can be easy to manage.

Morning Breath

It’s important to understand that halitosis and ‘morning breath’ are not the same. Most of us wake up with a bad taste – and bad smell – in our mouths, but this usually disappears when we brush our teeth. If that smell doesn’t disappear, and instead lasts throughout the day, then that’s a sign of halitosis.

Why Does Halitosis Happen?

There’s a common misconception that bad breath happens because a person doesn’t brush their teeth. While this can be true, having bad breath doesn’t necessarily mean you have poor oral hygiene. In fact, it could just mean that you need to extend your regular brushing routine to include some additional oral health techniques, such as flossing or using a tongue scraper, for example. Flossing helps to remove food caught between the teeth that can attract bacteria, while a tongue scraper can help to remove bacteria from the back of the tongue. This is especially beneficial in people suffering with sinus problems, as a post-nasal drip onto the back of the tongue can increase the build up of foul-smelling bacteria.

If you already follow an excellent oral health regime at home, halitosis may be due to the foods that you eat, or even your habits. Very strong smelling foods like onions and garlic can significantly contribute towards bad breath, along with alcohol and smoking. A few lifestyle changes may help reduce the smell, or you may wish to mask the odor using chewing gum, sprays, or mints for a temporary solution.

When to See Your Dentist

There are many different reasons why a person may develop halitosis, and unfortunately it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint an exact reason. If you’re struggling to figure out why your breath isn’t as fresh as you’d like it to be, it’s worth making an appointment to see your dentist, as halitosis could be caused by periodontal disease, or cavities. In fact, it’s believed that around 90 percent of cases are caused by cavities in the teeth. It's important to remember, however, that these issues can be addressed relatively easily.

Your dentist will be able to check your teeth and fill any cavities that may be causing halitosis. A visit to the dental hygienist can also be beneficial, as techniques such as scaling and polishing can really help to minimize the risk of developing periodontal disease, helping to keep halitosis at bay.

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