Bad Breath: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
It’s the little things that tell you that you must be suffering from bad breath. People may turn their heads when they speak to you or move back a little when you speak. It can actually take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.
Although everyone experiences having bad breath, for some people, it may be a daily struggle. Some people aren’t aware that they have bad breath or halitosis. Some may learn about it from friends, relatives, coworkers.
What is Halitosis or Bad Breath?
Halitosis or bad breath is caused by bacteria that live on the tongue’s surface. When these sulfur-producing bacteria break down proteins rapidly and release noxious-smelling volatile sulfur compounds in your mouth and throat.
Signs and Symptoms of Bad Breath
The signs of halitosis include the following:
- Dry mouth
- White coating on the tongue, particularly at the back of the tongue
- Post-nasal drip or mucus
- Morning bad breath and burning tongue
- Need to clear one’s throat constantly
- Thick saliva
- Sour and bitter metallic taste
How Can You Tell That You Have Bad Breath?
If you suspect that you have bad breath, you may feel self-conscious. You may want to ask someone close to you or you trust to take a peek inside your mouth. Ask if there is a white coating on the back of the tongue. This is often a sign of bacteria causing bad breath.
If you are too embarrassed to ask a friend, you can schedule an appointment with your dentist for a consultation. He can check the air from your mouth or nose and provide you with a more accurate assessment of the source of the bad smell if any. Your dentist can also help figure out the best way to treat bad breath.
If you want to know if your breath smells, you might consider doing a sniff test. Lick your wrist, and wait for it to dry, and then take a whiff. You can also try flossing your teeth behind the back of your mouth, and then smell the floss. You can also scrape your tongue, and then take a whiff of the scraper.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Respiratory infections and gastrointestinal diseases are sometimes responsible for small cases of bad breath. People with advanced liver or kidney diseases as well as uncontrolled diabetes can lead to bad breath.
How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Smoking can exacerbate the condition. Make sure to avoid smoking or chewing tobacco. Always rinse your mouth with alcohol-free mouthwash before going to bed.
If you suffer from dry mouth, make sure to drink water throughout the day. You would benefit from over-the-counter medications or dry mouth moisturizing agents like rinses, sprays, or gels. Your dentist can provide a prescription for these agents.
Make sure to visit your dentist regularly for dental cleaning and teeth whitening to help prevent bad breath or halitosis. If you have questions about this condition, contact us today or schedule an appointment for a consultation.