Tag Archives: halitosis

Got a bad breath problem? This could be why …

You probably won’t be surprised to know that a lot of people have a bad breath problem. But did you know bad breath is a chronic problem for one in four people[i]?

If you’re that one in four, it’s a problem for you – and possibly those around you. Learn about the gases that cause imperfect pongs and what you can do about them …

Bad breath affects most of us at some time or another – after a night’s sleep or after chomping on onions and garlic. But lingering smells need attention. Dr Lincoln Law who practices at the Healthy Teeth clinic in Surry Hills explains: ‘Bad breath is also known as halitosis or feta oris and it’s a pretty common reason for people coming into the clinic.’

Flagrant not fragrant

Research backs Dr Lincoln’s experience; it’s the third most common reason for seeking the help of a dentist after tooth decay and gum disease[ii].

As for the causes of less than fragrant breath? ‘Well, there can be many,’ explains Dr Lincoln.

‘Poor oral hygiene is the major cause of bad breath. It can happen when bits of food caught in your teeth start to break down. When mouth living bacteria eat these bits of food, they release noxious gases,’ says Dr Lincoln.

Anyone for bad eggs?

Scarily, these noxious gases include hydrogen sulphide (think rotten eggs), dimethyl sulphide (think rotten seaweed) and cadaverine and putrescine (the gases given off by decaying corpses) …

‘Lifestyle factors such as smoking also cause bad breath because of the tar and carbon that remain in the mouth. Smoking and alcohol consumption also dehydrate the body, which can cause dry mouth and can affect the quality of your breath.’

The food factor

Food is another factor that can cause bad breath. Take the popular paleo way of eating. ‘Severe dieting means that your body breaks down different nutrients and this can cause bad breath. Low carb and no carb diets can also do it.’

Dr Lincoln explains: ‘That’s because, when you cut the carbs and increase your protein intake, your body burns fat and this produces volatile compounds called ketones, which cause a particular kind of bad breath. Better dental hygiene can’t fix this one – it’s best to include a few low GI, healthy wholegrain foods in your diet. You can also try masking the smell with sugar-free gum.’

Feed bad bacteria

Most of the time, the cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Pongs occur when bacteria eat the traces of food that remain between and on the teeth and gums, producing sulphur-containing gases.

Dr Lincoln says that, in his experience, people just need a little help to improve their oral hygiene – the best approach is with gentle but effective cleaning techniques for each individual.

‘Bacteria live in your mouth. They find homes in the crevices of the tongue, teeth and gums where they eat the food you eat and emit foul-smelling gases that cause odours. So removing bacteria and their waste through an effective cleaning regime can freshen your breath for a few hours,’ advises Dr Lincoln.

 Health conditions and halitosis

Serious illnesses – like bowel problems and pneumonia – as well as reflux problems, can cause bad breath. Medication can also be a trigger – including nitrates used to treat angina, some chemotherapy medications and certain tranquillisers, plus any kind of medicine that causes dry mouth.

Although medical problems need prompt medical treatment and you need to see your GP, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from bad breath. ‘Recent research suggests that one of the most effective ways to beat bad breath is based on bacteria,’ says Dr Lincoln.

Better bacteria

‘More and more research is showing that one of the most effective ways to treat bad breath is via probiotics (good bacteria). There are trillions of beneficial bacteria that live in and on your body that are vital to life and can help to reduce bad breath. So, many new treatments are likely to focus on increasing certain beneficial probiotics,’ he explains.

Probiotics work by forcing out the bad guys i.e. the bad bacteria which are potentially disease-causing microorganisms. Look for oral probiotics designed specifically to improve your dental health.

Feeding the good guys

‘Encouraging lots of prebiotics is important, too. Prebiotics – like wholegrains, pulses, veggies and fruits – are foods that nourish you and promote the growth of good bacteria. Yet another reason to enjoy a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates,’ explains Dr Lincoln.

Crunch time

‘Vegetables are an especially good choice because they are also rich in water and fibre – you could say they act like a dietary toothbrush. Drink lots of water and try to rinse your mouth with water after eating to help the natural mouth cleansing action of saliva,’ ends Dr Lincoln.

Of course, effective and regular cleaning is absolutely vital to maintain a healthy mouth. So don’t neglect regular check-ups with your dentist for a professional clean.

[i] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166636.php

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12013345

ks2_5786
Dr Lincoln Law, dentist at the Healthy Teeth clinic in Surry Hills
Advertisements

Heading off halitosis

Do you have a personal problem that no one’s telling you about? Bad breath – or halitosis – affects most of us at some time. And chances are that if you are affected by this smelly affliction, loved ones and acquaintances won’t want to tell you for fear of embarrassing you …

There’s no DIY bad breath test either – you can’t self diagnose bad breath by cupping your hands, blowing on them and breathing it all in. That’s because although the smell receptors in your nose are great at identifying new smells, they can’t detect persistent odours. If you really want to know if your breath is as fresh as it could be, ask someone you’re close to. Ready to get to the bottom of the problem? Then read on!

What causes bad breath?

Bacterial build up, gum disease and bits of trapped food (which provide food for the bacteria that live in your mouth and allow them to thrive) can contribute to bad breath. Your mouth dwelling bacteria produce smelly gases – called volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs). So, keeping your teeth and gums clean, regular professional cleaning and treatment for gum disease can make a huge difference to your fresh breath confidence.

What to avoid!

  • Smelly foods – garlic, onions, ginger and strong curry spices can linger in the mouth before they disappear.
  • Cigarettes – the noxious gases can lurk inside your mouth, contributing to bad breath.
  • Alcohol – the smell of the alcohol imparts a unique odour. Drinking too much alcohol can also cause dehydration, which allows bacteria to thrive.
  • Low carbohydrate diets – when your body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates, the result can be a strong and unusual smell.

Some medications and certain health conditions can also cause bad breath. Talk to your GP to find out more.

What you can do

  1. Brush thoroughly but gently on every tooth surface for at least two minutes, twice a day (wait for at least half an hour after eating acidic foods or drinking citrus drinks, wine and fizzy drinks or you could literally brush softened enamel away).
  2. Clean your tongue. Bacteria live in the grooves of your tongue so use your brush or a special tongue brush to clean it and the insides of your cheeks, too.
  3. Use dental floss after eating to remove bits of food that remain in your mouth. The bacteria will then have less food to feed on.
  4. Drink plenty of water and fluids to fight dry mouth.
  5. Chew sugar-free gum after eating – it stimulates the release of mouth-cleansing saliva.

Ask your dentist

Seeing your dentist regularly is vital if you’re after fresh breath confidence. During a professional clean, your dentist will pay special attention to areas where food can get caught and where plaque or tartar has built up. All of the areas that you find difficult to reach on your own can be cleaned thoroughly during your visit. Your dentist can also give you a tip or two about the best way to clean your teeth and gums and show you any areas that you might be missing. You may even be prescribed special products such as an antibacterial mouthwash and/or special interdental brushes to help remove any food stuck between your teeth.

If bad breath persists, it may be a sign of another problem – a sinus, tonsil or adenoid problem for example. So, go along and see your GP.

rt healthy teeth is located at 1 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. Call 1300 991 044 to make an appointment or visit rthealthcentre.com.au for more information.