With Francis Ezediuno
Bad breath or Halitosis has been explained to be a situation that can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems typically made worse by the types of food one eats or other unhealthy lifestyle.
This was made known by Dr. Victor Nwabudike, a Consultant Family Dentist who specializes in oral health recently in a chat with this medium.
The Oral Health specialist revealed that bad breath can be traced to the breakdown of food which begins from the mouth.
In his words, “Basically, all the foods we eat begin to be broken down in the mouth. If foods with strong odour such as garlic or onions are eaten, brushing and even using mouthwash merely covers up the odour temporarily. The odour will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
“If you do not brush your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gum and on the tongue. This causes bad breath.
“In addition, odour causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath, stain teeth, which can bring about and reduced ability to taste food and irritate the gums”.
Dr. Nwabudike also hinted that bad breath could bring about health problems which, according to him, include persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth which may be a sign of gum disease also known as periodontal disease.
This type of disease, he hinted, is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth and bacteria can cause the formation of toxins to form, which may irritate the gums and if the gum disease continued untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
Other dental causes of bad breath, he added, include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infection of the mouth and dental caries or cavities.
“The medical condition of dry mouth also called Xerostomia also can be a cause of bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongues, gums and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may also be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems or continuous breathing through the mouth”.
He also disclosed that many other diseases and illnesses may be the cause of bad breath, some of which include respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnatal drips, diabetes, chronic acid reflux and liver or kidney problems.
As a way of preventing bad breath, Dr. Nwabudike suggested the following: practice of good oral hygiene which includes brushing twice in a day with fluoride toothpaste and replacing of toothbrush after 90 days.
Other measures he suggested were, seeing the dentist regularly at least twice in a year, putting a stop to smoking for smokers and also ending tobacco chewing, drinking of lots of water to keep the mouth moist and keeping logs of food eaten.
One of the means of getting rid of bad breath is through the use of antibacterial mouthwash, he added.