Halitosis, Prevention, and Implications

Most people are unaware of the fact that bad breath is actually a clinically defined condition. We typically just assume that anyone with bad breath skipped the teeth-brushing part of their morning, and don’t rule that out; however, we’ve all come across those who have had particularly bad breath—the kind of bad breath that stands out as “special.” Looney Toons would characterize this as a bizarrely colored smog rushing from your lips in short bursts to the rhythm of your words as you speak. It’s called halitosis, and it can, indeed, be a consequence of fundamentally inadequate oral hygiene practices, but it can just as easily indicate other issues. Halitosis can also be exacerbated based on the foods you eat in addition to other lifestyle habits that may not be so healthy like smoking.

What Habits Give Me Looney Toon Breath?

First and foremost, you very well might have been right to consider the person with bad breath to be one who simply did not brush his or her teeth. If you suffer from halitosis, it might be because you do not brush and floss routinely every day, which means that your mouth harbors food particles from previous days. If this is the case, then your teeth are also fostering the growth and germination of bacteria, as are your tongue and gums.

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These factors easily contribute to terrible breath, but antibacterial mouth rinse can do a pretty good job to mitigate that germination. You’ll probably want the brand that stings in your mouth just to give you the peace of mind to know that it is, in fact, working. If you have braces or dentures, then all of these things are just as much a problem that may be exacerbated by the difficulty of properly cleaning these oral instruments. Food particles and odorous bacteria can remain lodged in these things for a pretty long time.

Oh, if you chew tobacco or if you smoke tobacco-based products, this makes it harder to clean up your breath. It also stains your teeth for good measure so that, even if people can’t see the green smog emanating from your mouth when you talk, they still get the full experience because the words “bad breath” are stained onto your teeth. Smoking and chewing tobacco are really just activities you’d be best to avoid for innumerable reasons, though, and bad breath is probably the smallest of them. You won’t really be tasting any of the foods that are impinging upon your breath, which means no meal is even worth it, and it also means you’ll be piling on more garlic in an attempt to taste it, which will only make your breath stink more.

How Does What I Eat Matter?

When you’re eating food, chiefly as you’re chewing it, you’re obviously breaking that food down. The foods you eat, though, can sometimes have inordinately pungent odors like those of onions or garlic, and breaking these things down causes odors with that kind of staying power to latch onto the insides of your mouth rather easily. In fact, even as you swallow the foods, they carry the odors with them and cause the odors to emanate from the gut, which means they continue to waft through your mouth and affect your breath.

You can brush your teeth, floss, and drown in mouthwash, but you’ll only be masking the odor temporarily. Your breath will smell like Listerine and Funions until the Funions have actually passed through your system, which will require a productive bowel movement just to be clear.

Implications

If you just can’t get rid of your halitosis and you’re not even a smoker, then there may be more serious issues at work. If halitosis persists against all odds, it can be an indicator of periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease. You may be suffering from an inordinate buildup of dental plaque, which is essentially what allows bacteria to infiltrate the gums. These bacteria also give rise to toxins, and they can eventually cause nigh-irreparable damage to the jaw and gums if left unchecked.

You might also have oral yeast infections, which you may not have known were a possibility until just now. Indeed, this can be the underlying source of halitosis in some cases, and as previously mentioned with regard to braces and dentures, perhaps you actually are cleaning them properly. If your dental appliances do not fit correctly, though, there are many ways that this can contribute to halitosis.

Ellen Cone