What’s that smell, halitosis?
You’re on a date, sitting across from the beautiful woman you met in the transport centre. The food is great, the service is exceptional and she’s a good conversationalist. Thing is, every time she opens her mouth to give you insight on who she is and what she likes, her breath stabs you in the eye and cuts off your breath. You’re trying to figure out how to tell her and not ruin the date because you understand that at some point in time, we’ve all had an encounter with bad breath.
You’ve been dating now for three months, and you can’t seem to figure out why her breath is consistently unpleasant. It could be halitosis.
Halitosis is chronic bad breath that quick fixes like gum and a detailed brushing routine can’t fix, and it lasts for an extended period of time. “There are quite a number of reasons why people suffer from halitosis. The causes can range from dental issues such as cavities and gum disease to just lack of basic oral hygiene,” said Dr Ivan Rawl Williams. Other causes include mouth, nose and throat infections, dry mouth, tonsil stones, smoking, and other serious issues such as diabetes, liver and kidney disease.
So, how do you treat halitosis? Before going to your doctor, Williams suggests trying these tips:
- Up your oral hygiene: Having a daily mouth-cleaning routine that consists of brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing and gargling will help. If you haven’t visited your dentist in a while, set an appointment to ensure that your cavities are looked after and plaque is removed from the teeth. “Gargling is especially important because the tonsils have small crevices, and when food particles or mucus gets lodged in them, it breeds bacteria, which forms the white stones at the back of your throat. Gargling regularly will keep the crevices fairly clean,” he said.
- Make changes in your diet: Avoid dry mouth by drinking plenty of water, limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Stay away from onions, garlic and spicy foods as they contribute heavily to bad breath.
If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and spend time cleaning them with antiseptic toothpaste.
If all these tips have failed, be sure to seek professional help as the cause of your chronic bad breath might be linked to serious underlying health issues.