Bad breath

Bad breath, also called halitosis, is a problem that has plagued mankind for millennia. There are reports of treatments for bad breath dating back more than three million years. Even in the Bible, the Book of Genesis, there is mention of treatments to freshen breath.

The odd thing is that many people who do not have halitosis worry excessively with his breath, while a good part of that has bad breath, do not suspect the fact. Up to 25% of people seeking medical care for bad breath, actually does not.

What are the causes of bad breath?

There are over 40 different causes for bad breath. Let’s just focus on the most common.

Over 80% of cases originate in the mouth. They are caused by the action of natural bacterial flora in our throat about the food they eat. We have over 600 types of bacteria in our mouths, many of them capable of producing gas odor due to the metabolism of organic material, mainly proteins.

Two points are critical. The accumulation of bacteria between teeth and on the back of the tongue, near the pharynx. The smell of halitosis comes from the gas production by these bacteria after the metabolism of foods that are deposited in these regions.

As foreseen, the smaller the oral hygiene, more food waste remains in the oral cavity and the stronger the bad breath. Inflammations such as gingivitis and periodontitis also favor halitosis.

Saliva is a natural antiseptic mouthwash. In addition to having antibacterial substances, it helps to rinse the oropharynx, reducing bacteria and food residues. The more dry mouth is, the worse the breath.

The tongue coating, or coated tongue, is caused by a whitish plaque bacteria and desquamated cells that cling to the language, which is a common cause of bad breath. The coating typically arises from lack of hydration in the oral cavity, usually for lack of saliva, or by poor brushing the tongue. Among other risk factors for the coating are sleeping with the mouth open, snoring, use of mouthwash and alcohol-based using orthodontic appliances. Brushing your tongue and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated by mouth are always simple ways to reduce the incidence of the coating and hence the bad breath.

Still in the mouth, another point that may lead to bad breath are the tonsils. Patients with tonsillitis tend to have small crypts in your tonsils that favor the deposition of food and cellular debris of old infections, forming a caseous or caseum. Occasionally, small “pebbles” extremely smelly one releases these crypts, leading patients to imagine that your breath is as bad as this odor. Actually, not always the caseous tonsil is the cause of bad breath, and not necessarily those with the breath of caseous is as bad as the smell of it. (See also: Sore throat – Tonsil stones, Pharyngitis and tonsillitis).

A bad breath that comes on suddenly may be the first sign of a sore throat or tonsillitis in development. This is particularly true in children.

Another site that may be the cause of halitosis is the nose, especially due to conditions such as sinusitis. The existence of post-nasal drip can lead to accumulation of substances smelling the base of the tongue.

One type of bad breath, extremely common and usually the passenger, is one that occurs on waking. Two facts that contribute to halitosis:

Many people sleep with open mouth, causing a dry mouth during the night as was previously explained, leads to bad breath.

But the most important factor is another. During sleep, we become more than 10 hours of fasting. The body needs to produce energy constantly and during periods of fasting there is little glucose available as fuel. The body then begins to burn fat for energy. The metabolism of fats leads to production of ketone bodies, substances with strong odors are eliminated by the lungs. Notice that whenever we are hungry or long periods of fasting, we get bad breath. Fortunately, this is easily solved. Just eat.

The ketone breath of fasting is the same as occurs in patients with poorly controlled diabetes.

Other systemic diseases that can cause bad breath are cirrhosis and advanced renal failure. The latter causes a breath smelling of urine due to the accumulation of urea and other substances that are not properly eliminated during urination. Lung infections can also cause halitosis.

It is often overestimate the role of the stomach in halitosis. But this is rarely the cause of bad breath. The exception occurs in those with gastroesophageal reflux. Not justified an investigation with a doctor if bad breath is the only complaint.

Very rarely a hidden tumor of the oropharynx or larynx may be causing the smell.

Our daily habits also influence the breath. Cigarette smoking, regular consumption of alcohol and excessive coffee are causes of bad breath. There is also a poorly understood relationship between obesity and halitosis.

Some foods like garlic and onion are likely to cause bad breath for several hours. In the case of garlic, one of the gases produced by its digestion can be absorbed into the bloodstream and be eliminated by the lungs. So the bad breath may remain even after brushing the teeth.

Treatment of bad breath

Like the vast majority of cases originate in the mouth, the dentist is usually the best expert. However, the otolaryngologist may be the best doctor in cases of halitosis by the tonsils, throat or nose.

Some tips may solve, or at least alleviate the problem:

* Proper oral hygiene and flossing
* Regular dental check-up
* Gargling with oral antiseptics, especially at night
* Brushing the tongue. Wet your brush with antiseptic mouth instead of toothpaste (toothpaste) to clean the tongue.
Ingestion of fluids to prevent dehydration and dryness of mouth
* Chewing gum (chewing gum) unsweetened increase salivation and help to “wash” the mouth. 5 minutes of chewing enough.
* Avoid alcohol, coffee and cigarettes
* Avoid long periods of fasting
* Eating well for breakfast (breakfast)