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Don’t Just Put Up with Bad Breath

Posted on 23.06.2014 by perfectsmile

Bad breath can be an embarrassing condition to suffer from, leading those afflicted to feel ashamed when talking to other people, and unsure of themselves when meeting new people, especially in a romantic or social setting. Also known as halitosis, it is the unpleasant odour caused by the millions of bacteria which thrive in the warm wet conditions of the mouth. In many cases, bad breath is a temporary phenomenon, such as the condition known as ‘morning breath’, which is brought about by the fact that your mouth becomes dry overnight, and dead cells stick to the surfaces rather than being washed away by saliva. There are, however, other factors which can cause the more long term condition of halitosis, and amongst them are the following:

  • Poor Dental Hygiene – if you don’t brush your teeth often or well enough, then particles of food can become trapped between them and decay, causing unpleasant odours. A build-up of plaque will also make gum disease more likely to occur, and gum disease can cause bad breath in its’ own right.
  • Infection – an infection in the mouth can be caused by gum disease, an abscess or a cavity, particularly if they are left untreated.
  • Respiratory Infections – an infection in the throat, sinus or lungs can lead to bad breath.
  • Food and Drink – eating certain strong smelling items of food, such as garlic, onions and coffee, or smoking cigarettes, can contribute towards halitosis.
  • Dry Mouth – a dry mouth can be brought about by a number of different factors, such as problems with the saliva glands, certain medications or a problem which causes the patient to have to breathe through the mouth.
  • Illnesses – certain illnesses are known to cause bad breath, amongst them being diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux illnesses and many others.

Symptoms The symptoms of bad breath are often difficult for those suffering from it to detect. This is because your own nose becomes used to the smell and stops picking it up. What you may notice is other people pulling a face when you speak to them, or even backing away. There may be other, more obvious symptoms, and these depend upon the underlying reason for the bad breath.

Infections in the Mouth: The symptoms may vary depending upon the exact type of infection, but include:

  • Gums which are red, swollen and bleed after brushing
  • Pus between the teeth or in a pocket at the base of the tooth, which is known as an abscess
  • Teeth which become loose, or a change in the way your dentures fit
  • Open sores on the gums and tongue which are painful

Infections in the Respiratory Tract: The symptoms of this kind of infection might include:

  • A sore throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • A high temperature
  • A blocked nose
  • Green or yellow discharge from the nose
  • A cough producing mucus

Dry Mouth: Symptoms of this condition might include:

  • Difficulty when trying to swallow dry foods
  • Difficulty when speaking for a lengthy period due to discomfort
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A larger than average number of cavities

Illnesses: If your halitosis is caused by an illness, the symptoms will vary depending upon the specific illness.

Diagnosis Your dentist may notice the fact that your breath is bad when examining your mouth. Some particular types of smell can be indicative of particular illnesses. For example, bad breath which smells like fruit might indicate diabetes, whilst the smell of urine could indicate problems with the kidneys. Your dentist will look into your medical history to ascertain whether there is an underlying medical cause, as well as asking about your personal and dietary habits. They will then examine your teeth, tongue, gums and salivary glands. If they feel the halitosis has an underlying medical cause then they may refer you to your own doctor, whilst if it down to a serious case of gum disease, then they may well send you to see a periodontist. Depending upon the type of condition which it is suspected may be behind the halitosis, you may be sent for tests such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays etc.

How long will it Last? The length of an attack of halitosis will depend upon what is causing it. If your bad breath is down to poor dental hygiene, then adopting the right cleaning regime can produce results pretty quickly. Similarly, periodontal disease might respond quickly to treatment, as might an abscess. Bad breath caused by a specific illness may be a longer term problem, and its’ treatment will depend upon the treatment of the illness as a whole.

Prevention Bad breath which is brought about by dental problems is fairly easy to prevent, in the following manner:

  • Brush your gums, tongue and teeth after each meal and floss between teeth on a daily basis.
  • Your dentist may recommend rinsing every day with a mouthwash
  • Ensure you attend your dental clinic regularly for examinations and professional cleaning

Treatment The exact treatment prescribed will depend upon the precise cause of the halitosis. If you’re worried that you may have bad breath, or are suffering any of the symptoms associated with it, then call Perfect Smile and visit a dental clinic in London at the earliest opportunity.

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