Current statistics suggest that one in four of us may suffer from bad breath. We all know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an unpleasant smell emanating from someone else’s mouth.
The cunning thing about halitosis (to give it its Sunday name) is that everyone is aware of it: except the person afflicted with the condition. So, once a close friend has dropped enough hints, what measures can you take to keep the odours away?
Causing a stink
There are several reasons why people experience bad breath, which perhaps explains why 25% of the population gets it. One is simply the kind of foods you eat: those who are partial to onions and garlic are more prone to bad breath than those who avoid them. Smokers and coffee drinkers can give off breathy odours, no matter how much they try to mask their habits with gargles of mouthwash.
Not just from the horse’s mouth
There are other reasons why bad breath can occur which have little to do with the things you put in your mouth. Bronchitis, pneumonia, diabetes, liver trouble and kidney problems can also have an unfortunate by-product.
A deeper concern
While bad breath is unpleasant to be around, spare a thought for the person causing the commotion. The odours could be masking more worrying concerns, and acting as a warning sign of gum disease when toxins in the mouth are irritating the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can cause serious to damage to both the gums and jawbone.
What to do?
Regular flossing and effective brushing is crucial (twice a day at least and don’t forget to scrub that tongue!) while twice-yearly visits to your dentist are important, as a routine check-up may reveal underlying problems such as infections or trapped plaque. And given that a dry mouth is one major cause, keep the area moist by drinking plenty of water during the day and having the odd chew on some sugar-free gum.
Help is at hand
There’s one natural aid to all this unpleasantness, right there in the mouth: saliva. It’s the main ingredient which helps keep odours in check because it washes away food debris and the nasty bacteria which causes halitosis. The production of saliva is slower when you sleep, which is why even people who don’t have bad breath during the day may wake up with a touch of the old ‘morning breath’.
How did you go about telling a close friend they had bad breath?