The mouth is one of the most important parts of the human anatomy and it serves a wide range of purposes, from life saving to aesthetics and ambiguous words like “halitosis” can sound very scary, not to worry though, we’ll break it down so you get message clear. So, first things first; What is Halitosis?

Universal search engine, Google, defines it as a persistent, unpleasant odour in exhaled breath, usually not serious, commonly called bad breath. Simply put, halitosis is mouth odour.

Many of us have had personal experiences of halitosis ranging from awful to horrendous, be it either first or second-hand experience. The most common being what scientists refer to as “morning halitosis”, is caused by the increased bacterial activity in our mouths while we sleep and saliva production (which helps clean the mouth) is at its lowest. This is normal for everyone.

What causes Halitosis?

On the website of popular antiseptic mouthwash brand; Listerine, three major causes of halitosis were pointed out. They are Diet, Oral Issues and Medical Conditions

Halitosis caused by Diet is, of course, due to the kind of food one takes. Consumption of onions, garlic, groundnut, fish, alcohol, tobacco etc tend to naturally disrupt one’s breath. In general, foods rich in protein as well as citrus fruits makes one’s breath smell foul.

One of the most apparent signs of poor Oral Health is bad breath, especially if you do not take care of your teeth, gum and tongue properly. When you do not brush regularly, food particles stuck in between teeth are feasted upon by bacteria especially sugar. When you do not brush often, there is bound to be bacteria build up and this leads to variety of mouth disease which further prolong the bad breath. These diseases could be either gum disease or cavities.

Some Medical Conditions can cause halitosis as well. They include pneumonia, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, etc. Xerostomia also known as dry mouth may be a side effect of some medications and lead to low production of saliva putting one at the risk of halitosis.

How can Halitosis be managed?

In managing halitosis, the root cause has to be identified before it can be properly managed. However, here are some ways to deal with halitosis:

  • Brush your teeth and tongue properly often.
  • After brushing, make sure to floss in between your teeth to remove food particles.
  • Pay attention to the corners of your tongue when brushing it.
  • Always rinse your mouth well after brushing.
  • Change your toothbrush every three months.
  • Invest in a quality antiseptic and anti-bacterial mouthwash such as Listerine.
  • Try as much as possible to steer clear of foods that cause bad breath.
  • Eat foods that naturally clean your mouth such as sugarless gum, cucumber and celery.
  • Drink water regularly to hydrate your mouth and keep it moist.
  • Go for regular oral checkup.

Medical studies have confirmed that halitosis can be genetic and run in the family. In such a case as this or one caused by medical condition, it is advisable to seek professional help from a doctor (a dentist specifically).

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