Unless one knows about bad breath or halitosis they cannot meaningfully prevent it. This is generally caused by poor oral hygiene which, in turn, leads to cavities and gum diseases. Tooth cavities and deep pockets in gum from gum diseases are safe havens for bacteria. Other general causes are dehydration, use of alcohol, tobacco, or excess intake of caffeine. There are medical conditions and certain medications that produce halitosis. Halitosis or bad breath unlike morning breath often merits more than a good mouth wash, mint or good brushing. It can often indicate a more serious condition that calls for medical intervention.
Some of the common causes are:
- Smoking and the use of other tobacco products devastate the body. They tend to dry out the mouth. Smokers are also very prone to develop gum diseases. Gum diseases start as gingivitis or gum inflammation, all of which lead to bad breath.
- Dry mouth or xerostomia can be a major cause of bad breath. Simple habits like drinking an adequate amount of water help deal with this condition. Additionally, an adequate flow of saliva while eating food ensures proper digestion and washes out the leftover food from the mouth. This prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria in the mouth. Besides the physical action of washing off the leftover food, saliva has antibacterial chemicals which prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. As a matter of fact, halitosis can also be an early indication of inadequate hydration. Medications and certain medical conditions like diabetes, liver and renal diseases, acid reflux, etc, can produce bad breath.
- Dental issues like cavities and deeper pockets in the gum from unattended gum disease afford safe heavens to bad breath bacteria which cannot be removed by brushing or cleaning interdentally.
- Infections in the mouth, nose, throat, and sinus can cause halitosis. Bacteria infecting the sinus feed on the mucus and produce bad breath.
Since bad breath can be a harbinger of other serious conditions, it is important to not neglect it. One should institute proper oral hygiene by brushing twice for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning the interdental gaps once a day. Ensure proper hydration and avoid using alcohol and tobacco products in all forms. Chewing American Dental Association approved sugarless gum can also help to augment the secretion of saliva. If the condition still persists, it is time to visit the dentist and have a thorough oral check up and resolve those issues. The dentist may recommend the appropriate dental products to help you with the condition.
However, if the condition is still not resolved, one needs to investigate other medical conditions that cause halitosis. One should consult the primary health care provider to establish the reason, like medications that can produce bad breath.
Prevention is always better than cure. One should have a biannual oral checkup and a thorough professional clean up if required.