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Bad Breath

Is there a cure for bad breath?

While bad breath is embarrassing, take comfort in knowing that everyone suffers from it sooner or later. Transitory bad breath is often caused by eating foods containing onion, garlic, diary or meat, but chronic bad breath can actually be a sign of illness. Using mouthwash or breath mints can help, but often doesn't address the cause of the bad breath.

In the majority of cases, foul breath originates in the mouth. The bad odor occurs while oral bacteria break down proteins that are trapped in the mouth. Mouth dryness can also make bad breath more noticeable. Drinking lots of water and frequent oral hygiene procedures as part of a healthy lifestyle such as flossing and brushing your teeth will address most instances.

Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis or oral malodor, affects as many as 25 percent of the population and can lead to reduced self-esteem, especially in social situations. Unlike transitory bad breath, halitosis may be caused by physical health issues including abscesses or sinus infections. If the situation doesn't improve, you should consult with a physician or dentist to ascertain the cause of the smell; no bad breath cure of gum or mouthwash will correct the problem.

Some non-oral conditions that may cause bad breath include:

  • Metabolic dysfunction
  • Carcinoma
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic liver failure
  • Bronchial and lung infections
  • Tonsil putrefaction
  • Gum disease

These causes of bad breath are extremely low in the population. The role of gum disease in bad breath is also highly debated with many feeling that bacteria that grows beneath the gum line only smells foul upon its removal.

Stop Bad Breath

How can you stop bad breath? First of all, you need to determine whether you have it or not. If there isn't anyone around that you trust to ask, there are two self-tests that you can try to verify whether your breath stinks. Keep in mind that it's difficult to self-diagnose because we get used to the smell of our breath and even a bad taste in the mouth may not indicate a bad smell.

  • Lick the back of your hand, wait two minutes and then smell it.
  • Use a plastic spoon to gently scrape the back of your tongue, let it dry and smell it.

In either case, if the smell is bad then you know that you have bad breath. Using a toothbrush or a tongue cleaner to remove the bacteria from the back of the tongue (often visible as a white substance) is a superior bad breath remedy to removing the odor than using gum, mints or mouthwash alone. If these steps don't improve the smell of your breath, seek medical advice.

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