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Personal hygiene: tips on preventing bad breath

MANY adults in any community may have some form of gum disease which can be embarrassing and in some cases may cause anxiety and psychosocial embarrassment especially, when you’re about to share a private point to a friend, who without telling you that your mouth is producing a foul smell, would be seen unease and move way.

It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath. But many of these products don’t address the main cause of the problem though they offer temporary measures. Many bad breath (halitosis) problems are linked to oral hygiene.

If you don’t brush and floss well, your mouth breaks down the tiny chunks of food that are caught between your teeth. This can give off an odour that smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. Toothpaste or mouthwash may mask it for a while, but it can’t fix the problem.

It’s like being stinky and sweating and trying to cover the bad smell with perfume. Bad breath odours vary depending on the source or the underlying cause. Some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odour, while others have bad breath and don’t know it.

Sadly, most of us have no idea if we have bad breath or not, unless someone points it out for us. However, there are ways you can figure it out for yourself, for instance after flossing, smell your dental floss, sounds gross but can’t help. If your breath smells like rotten eggs then you know for sure that your breath stinks.

You can also use a tongue scraper. If the gunk accumulates on the scraper and it stinks, you’ve got bad breath. Some types of bad breath are considered to be fairly normal. They usually are not health concerns. One example is “morning mouth.” This occurs because of changes in your mouth while you sleep.

During the day, saliva washes away decaying food and odours. The body makes less saliva at night. Your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells stick to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. When bacteria use these cells for food, they produce a foul odour.

In addition, bad breath can be caused by other factors like; Bad oral hygiene. This is the most obvious reason for bad breath. If you don’t brush and floss regularly then bacteria starts to build up in your gum and tongues. And when you eat, these bacteria feed on the food and later release a gas which is responsible for the foul odour.

Dehydration or dry mouth also causes bad breath since the saliva in your mouth is like a natural mouthwash. It has antibacterial properties that kill the odour producing bacteria in your mouth. When you are dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce saliva in the mouth, meaning you have dry mouth.

However, dry mouth can also occur due to excessive talking, smoking or breathing through the mouth. Chronic dry mouth might also be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases. Bad breath can also be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.

Cavities and deeper pockets from gum disease give bad breath bacteria extra places to hide in your mouth that are difficult to clear out when you’re brushing or cleaning between your teeth. Either can contribute to halitosis. Tobacco products wreak havoc on your body and your breath.

Not only do many tobacco products leave their own odour on your breath; they can also dry out your mouth. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease, which can also add to halitosis. While halitosis is most often linked to something happening in your mouth, it may also be a sign of gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease.

There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious. To reduce or prevent bad breath: Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque.

Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. If you suffer from halitosis, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day. Remember to remove and clean thoroughly your dentures at night before placing them back in your mouth the next morning.

Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out. Drinking lots of water keeps your mouth moist.

Chewing gums or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples.

It helps to scrape the plaque buildup and fights bacteria buildup in the mouth. If you have bad breath, review your oral hygiene habits. Try making lifestyle changes, such as brushing your teeth and tongue after eating, using dental floss, and drinking plenty of water.

If your bad breath persists after making such changes, make an appointment to see a dentist. Regular checkups allow the dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. Remember that a strong smile is a result of strong teeth and fresh breath!

● The Author, Racheal Masibo, is an Assistant Lecturer at St John’s University of Tanzania (SJUT)-School of Nursing, P.O BOX 47 Dodoma Tanzania. Email: rackelmasibo@yahoo.com Mobile: 0717513598

TODAY’S  article   is  a  continuation  ...


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