Halitosis – The Dragon Breath Blues

An estimated 35 per cent of the world’s populations suffer from halitosis, more commonly known as chronic bad breath.

Bad Breath or also known as Dragon Breath is an embarrassing problem and many of us would have suffered from it at some point in our lives and affects millions of people everyday. Just because bad breath is a common problem, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it.

Bad breath occurs due to lots of reason in the mouth and does not come from the stomach.

Strong food such as garlic and onions absorbed into the bloodstream and the odors are expelled by the lungs causing a bad breath temporarily which can be easily remove by taking a peppermint candy, sugarless gum or a sprig of parsley.

Bad breath can also be caused by what you’re NOT eating!

Bad Breath is usually caused by the breakdown of proteins by bacteria somewhere in the mouth which is probably the dirtiest place in the human body. Bad breath is not contagious, meaning one cannot catch it from someone else.

Persistent bad breath is usually caused by bits of food left on your gums, teeth and tongue. Germs and bacteria feast on this free lunch coat your teeth, gums and tend to get into the grooves and fissures on the tongue, producing lots of smelly and nasty gas which resulting a bad smell (Volatile Sulfur Compound = VSC).

Caffeine, smoking and alcohol increase the production of acid in the mouth, allowing VSC-producing bacteria to thrive. VSC produced by bacteria in the oral cavity can survive with little or no oxygen.

Saliva has high oxygen content, and oxygen helps to neutralize VSC production and keeps halitosis away. Hence to avoid bad dragon breath, it is essential to make sure you do not have a dry mouth. In fact, this is one of the reasons why drooling babies do not have bad breath.

According to Dr. Richard Price of American Dental Association, “Ninety percent of bad breath comes from bacteria in the mouth.” The other 10 percent could be from sinus problems, gastrointestinal issues, the Atkins diet (the high protein diet can lead to a metabolic imbalance called ketosis) and, in rare cases, bad breath can be tie in to serious medical problems such as a respiratory infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance and liver or kidney ailment. On the other hand, he also emphasizes that it’s unlikely that bad breath is the first sign of serious illness.

The bacteria on our teeth and gums (plaque) also cause gum disease and dental decay (periodontal disease). One of the warning signs of gum disease is you having always bad breath or funny bad taste in your mouth. Approximately 75{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} of American adults have some form of gum disease – most of them unaware they have it as it is painless and silent in its early stages.

Dental studies indicate that about 85 percent of those with persistent bad breath, also known as halitosis have a dental problem. So if you suffer from chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist. Your dentist might be able to see the problem and treat it during your regular check-ups.

The gum disease has been linked to the development of heart disease, respiratory ailments, and the delivery of pre-term low birth weight babies. If you have an open blood vessel from bleeding gums, bacteria will gain entry to your bloodstream.

When bacteria get into the bloodstream they encounter tiny fragments called platelets that clot blood when you get a cut. By sticking to the platelets bacteria cause them to clot inside the blood vessel, partially blocking it. This prevents the blood flow back to the heart and we run the risk of suffering a heart attack.” said Dr Steve Kerrigan of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to help prevent unpleasant odors on our breath. A clean mouth and good dental hygiene will make you more immune to infection, having a healthy smile and reducing bad breath. It is never such thing as too early or too late to begin taking care of your teeth and gum!

So brush and floss your teeth regularly. Clean your tongue every day with a soft brush and use a mouth wash, too. If your gums are sore or bleed, see your dentist for a dental check.

Don’t rely on mouthwash or a breath freshener to solve your bad breath problem as they are only temporarily covering up odors. If you clean up your diet and still can’t seem to get rid of your dragon breath, you may want to see your dentist or internist to rule out any underlying illnesses. Don’t let Bad breath ruin your confidence and take back control of your life.

Follow these tips to assist you prevent bad breath as well as keep your mouth healthy on a daily basis:

  1. Visit Your Dentist at least twice a year
    Visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and checkup. This is the best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
  2. Brush your teeth at least Twice a Day
    Experts recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and ideally after meals or snacks using fluoride-containing toothpaste. Brushing is imperative to remove remaining food particles in the mouth and around teeth. Those particles can collect bacteria and cause bad breath.
  3. To keep your breath fresh between brushing try:

  • Rinsing your mouth with water after eating if unable to brush
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, which naturally cleanses teeth
  • Take celery, carrots or apples, which might assist to loosen food debris while chewing
  • Floss your teeth daily

    All the tight spaces between your teeth or the areas under your gum line can’t reach by the toothbrush. Flossing removes plaque build up and will remove food debris from in between the teeth to improve oral health.
  • If you have signs of gum disease, such as red or swollen gums, see your dentist or a periodontist

    (gum specialist) right away.

  • Use a mouthwash

    Some contain antibacterial agents that could kill bacteria causing unpleasant breath smell. Please note that if a dental problem is the cause of chronic bad breath, a mouth wash will only temporarily hide unpleasant mouth odor and not cure it.
  • Brush your tongue

    Brush or scrape your tongue daily to help remove bacteria.
  • Avoiding Tobacco

    Smoking might cause chronic bad breath because the tar and nicotine build up on surfaces in the mouth can leave an unpleasant smell. Also, smoking blocks saliva flow, tends to dry out your mouth and leading to the growth of bacteria.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that cause odors on your breath

    Eating or drinking certain foods and beverages such as: Garlic, Onions, Coffee, Alcoholic beverages might cause chronic bad breath.
  • Avoid Dry Mouth (xerostomia)

    Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. If you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dentist about recommending an over the counter saliva substitute or suggest sugarless gum or candy which stimulates saliva and be sure to increase fluid intake by drinking plenty of water.
  • Top 5 Foods to get rid of bad breath caused by what you’ve eaten:

    1. Chew Fresh herbs
      Chew Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom or simply putting them into hot water are all good for fighting bad breath.
    2. Eat Crunchy Fruits or vegetables
      Apples, carrots, celery-basically any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable can assist loosen food debris between your teeth and gum while chewing. If not removed on a regular basis, bacteria build-up is formed (plaque) that causes bad breath.
    3. Eat Yogurt with active cultures
      A research study shows that a serving of yogurt with active cultures-not overly processed or sugar-added varieties daily can reduce the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. It also cuts back bacteria harvesting in the mouth as well as getting rid of plaque and gum disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. Vitamin D found in yogurt creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
    4. Masking techniques
      Mint candy or sugarless gum can freshened breath (masking odors) and also increase saliva production to rinse away plaque and bacteria.
    5. High C’s
      A food or fruit rich in vitamin C such as berries, citrus, melons and other vitamin C-rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth and also important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis which both are major caused of halitosis.
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