Bad breath, or halitosis, is a condition wherein the person suffering from it experiences bad odor from his/ her mouth. It is a common cause for embarrassment and many adults suffer from it time and again while some of them experience it on a regular basis.
Bad breath, sometimes called halitosis, may have its origin from the mouth or from other organ systems such as the lungs or the stomach and in some cases from the throat areas. It can also be caused due to some illnesses such as common cold, tonsillitis, or throat infections. Smells that originate from the mouth are due to the accumulation of anaerobic bacteria as a result of drying of the mouth (xerostomia), the intake of certain drugs that may induce xerostomia, tooth and gum problems and occasionally due to poor oral hygiene.
The accumulated bacteria flourishes in a state of lack of oxygen and act on food debris gathered at that site and release volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (that smells like rotten eggs), methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide ( that smell like rotten vegetables) and cause foul odor from the mouth.
To treat halitosis arising out of the mouth, the conditions that are causing the accumulation of the bacteria should be treated. If the condition is attributed to conditions such as xerostomia, flow of saliva is improved by the use of lozenges and in extreme cases by the use of a salivary substitute.
If the bacterial accumulation is due to teeth or gum problems, the correction of the underlying cause reduces the occurrence of bad breath. The dentist treats the decay with corrections such as fillings or crowns that prevent further accumulation of food and bacteria at that site. Likewise, the correction of gum problems by proper treatment methods will help reduce the condition and thus reduce halitosis. The dentist may also undertake the irrigation of the gum areas with antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacterial accumulation and thus treat the problem.
On the other hand, if this is caused due to poor oral hygiene, better hygiene methods should be followed to reduce it. Proper tooth brushing, flossing, cleaning the tongue and rinsing the mouth with some mouthwash are some of the hygiene methods to be followed to reduce bacterial and food accumulation. In some cases, an extreme cleaning will do the trick.
Care has to be taken in changing the brush frequently and to store it properly in order to prevent bacterial buildup on it. Some people have the habit of storing the brush in substances such as hydrogen peroxide to help in preventing the accumulation of bacteria that causes it. This is also used as a mouthwash to help reduce the bacteria responsible for bad breath Hydrogen peroxide acts by releasing oxygen and killing the bacteria and thus reducing the problems you will face.
This is used in a diluted form and gargled in the mouth for around 45 seconds. This use of hydrogen peroxide acts as a temporary measure. It is very important to remember that the continuous use of hydrogen peroxide as a measure to reduce bad breath may be harmful for the teeth. So it should be used with regular breaks in between to avoid causing undue harm.
This, when used to kill bad breath leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth that can be reduced by the use of some other commercially available mouthwash.By Richard Wilkins