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The Horror That Is Bad Breath

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever sat down near an individual to conduct business or talk on issues but then discovered bad breath from the person? It is not uncommon to discover this as almost 25% people suffer from this problem. Transient bad breath is a very common temporary condition caused by such things as oral dryness, stress, hunger and poor oral hygiene. Bad breath can affect ones self esteem and harm relationships leading to deterioration in personality and confidence in an individual. Also known as Halitosis, bad breath is not yet perfectly understood by doctors around the world.

Why and how is it caused? Most unpleasant odors are known to arise from food particles trapped in the mouth, which is processed by normal mouth flora. There are over 400 types of bacteria found in the average mouth. Several dozen of these can cause trouble when allowed to flourish or are genetically disposed to overpopulate. Large quantities of these naturally-occurring bacteria are often found on the posterior of the tongue, where they are undisturbed by normal activity. The rough surface of the tongue dorsum provides an ideal habitat for anaerobic bacteria, which flourish under a continually-forming tongue coating of food debris, dead cells, and hundreds of thousands of bacteria, living and dead. When they are not cleaned after eating, they gather and lead to bad breath.

One's own breath odor is often undetectable due to habituation, although many people will have an accompanying bad taste (metallic, sour, fecal, etc) depending on oral dryness and the degree of breath odor.

How do we diagnose this problem? Well, a somewhat effective home method to determine the presence of bad breath is to lick the back of the wrist, let the saliva dry for a minute or two, and smell the result. Another way would be to lightly scrape the posterior of the tongue with an inverted spoon or a piece of dental floss, and to smell the dried residue. A spouse, family member, or close friend may be willing to smell one's breath and provide honest feedback. Highly reliable home tests are now available which use a chemical reaction to test for the presence of polyamines and sulfur compounds on tongue swabs. Remember that breath odor changes in intensity throughout the day depending on many factors, so test several times. After the diagnosis, take a dentists advice and if that fails, then a specialized cure is needed for bad breath.

Can bad breath be cured? Usually bad breath is temporary. Good brushing habits, using an oral wash and proper care of the mouth can solve the problem. If the problem is chronic then there are a very select number of specialized clinics that use a detailed assessment process including microbiology to determine the specific type or types of causing-causing bacteria. The specific bacteria are then controlled by individualized treatments. This procedure results in a very high rate of success.

Curing and dealing quickly with bad breath is important. Before people around you start telling you of it reducing moral confidence on one self. If quick action is taken, bad breath problems can be not only avoided but also a chronic tendency will not take place. It is crucial that a dentist diagnose the problem if the breath still remains bad after your best efforts. This condition can occur due to diseases in the gum or teeth.
About the Author
S. Stammberger is the editor of the BadBreath Report . Learn how to stop bad breath forever.
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