Bad Breath: Halitosis

Female covering her mouth with her hand, isolated in white
Female covering her mouth with her hand, isolated in white

Bad breath, we all have been there, and many can’t get rid of it, some mask the odor by doing continuous mouthwash rinses or eating gum and mints. But how do we get to the root of the problem and get rid of it?

Many times the main origin of bad breath comes from inefficiency or lack of oral hygiene.

Rarely, in some cases, it could originate from the sinus, pharynx  or stomach, and could be a sign of an underlying disease, such as uncontrolled blood sugar levels. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the mouth.

Some oral conditions related to bad breath are:

Gingivitis: gum disease that causes inflamed gums.

Periodontitis: serious gum infection that destroys the bone that support your teeth.

Tonsil stones: calcified stones on the back of your throat.

Tonsilitis: inflammation of the fresh on the back of your throat.

Dental abscess: a pocket of pus in a infected tooth.

Xerostomia: lack of saliva, increases activity of some bacteria in the mouth.

Smoking: Smoking dries up the oral mucosa and creates stains promoting bacteria accumulation.

White hairy tongue: plaque accumulated on the hair-like structors of the tongue.

Studies had shown that bad breath is created by a type of anaerobic bacteria we have in the mouth. This bacteria creates a sulfur like odor and it is mainly found deep within a pocket of a tooth or in the back of the tongue.

How to stop/avoid bad breath?

Brush your teeth after each meal. Don’t forget to floss and use a non alcoholic mouthwash (alcohol base mouthwash dries the oral cavity, aggravating the activity of the odor-creating bacteria).

Brush your tongue: you can use your tooth brush, a tongue brush or tongue scraper to get rid of the plaque (bacteria) hidden in your tongue. Your tongue should always look pink.

Get your teeth professionally clean at least every six months. In your dental visit, a dentist or hygienist will examine your medical history, do an extra oral exam and asses your intra oral health. Some people might need dental cleanings more often than others, every three or four months, depending on how well your oral hygiene is at home and considering other habits such as snack frequency, plaque accumulation or smoking.

– Drink plenty of water.

– Chew sugar free gum or mints to stimulate your salivary glands.

If you can feel your bad breath, most likely others can too. Here are some instructions on how to properly clean your tongue.

Start by rinsing your brush or tongue scraper. Some toothbrushes come w tongue cleaner on the opposite side of the bristles. You only need water to brush down your tongue, but if you would like, there are tongue gel cleaners available to buy.

The tongue is a very sensitive muscle, if you use aggressive movements you might irritate it or activate your gag reflex. To avoid this, simple divide the tongue in half, from right to left.

Stick your tongue out and focus on either right or left side, place the brush or scraper on the back of your tongue and gently drag it forward towards the tip of the tongue, lift you tongue cleaner with every stroke you do and place it back in the most posterior part of the tongue. After one to three strokes, rinse your brush and repeat until your tongue looks pink and you don’t see any plaque in the brush. Avoid placing your brush on your tongue and just rubbing the bristles back and forth, this will not get rid of the bacteria, it will just mix it up! Always brush it down as if you were sweeping the floor.





Your Dental Hygienist.

Jennifer Pettit RDH

HQ Dontics Dental Centre.

1060 Brickell ave. Miami FL




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