Common Causes of Bad Breath and How to Prevent It
After tooth decay and gum disease, bad breath is the third most common reason people pay a visit to a Glendale, CA Preventative Dentist, aside from their regular checkups. It is a problem that affects an estimated 25% of the population, and can have a strong personal and social impact on a personís life.
In around 90% of cases, the cause of bad breath originates from within the mouth itself.† In a small minority of cases it can be caused by an infection or a foreign body in the nose, putrefaction of the tonsils, or acid in the esophagus.† Finally, a few systemic diseases such as carcinoma and renal failure can contribute to bad breath.† Although bad breath is sometimes thought to originate from the stomach, apart from belching the stomach is rarely a cause of bad breath.† All of these esoteric reasons for bad breath can be diagnosed by your dentist during your regular checkup, and a dentist can give you a professional diagnosis.
The principal reason for common bad breath (also known as halitosis), is the tongue.† Four out of five mouth-related bad breath cases can be traced to tongue bacteria.† Our tongues have large quantities of naturally-occurring bacteria, mainly found on the posterior dorsum (the relatively dry part on the top of the tongue).† Due to the microbial structure of the tongue it remains an ideal environment for anaerobic bacteria to thrive on, thanks to dead cells and food debris.† This bacterium causes the smell we associate with common bad breath.
Those with a problem with bad breath should therefore first concentrate on cleaning their tongue. Gently cleaning the surface of tongue twice a day is the most effective way to curb bacteria in the mouth.† To remove the real source of the problem requires the use of a tongue cleaner (also known as a tongue scraper).† Some studies have shown that tongue scrapers work better than simply using a toothbrush to cleanse the tongue, as a toothbrush is more likely to simply spread bacteria around the mouth, and cause a gagging effect.† A teaspoon is a possible alternative for a tongue scraper.†† Remember your tongue is a tender organ, and excessive heavy scraping is not necessary and can cause damage.
Measures such as mints and mouth sprays are not particularly effective, as they only serve to mask the odor created by the bacteria on the tongue.† However, sugar-free chewing gum promotes saliva in the mouth, which aids in washing away bacteria.
Apart from the tongue, there are other places in the mouth that can contribute to bad breath.† There are over 600 bacteria types found in our mouths, and a percentage of these can cause foul odors.† Eating a healthy breakfast which contains rough foods can help clean the back of the tongue which is hard to get to in other ways.† Gargling with mouthwash can aid in general oral hygiene, but will not cure halitosis.
Above all, preventative dentistry through your dentist is an important part of your oral hygiene and will reduce instances of bad breath in all cases.
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