Bad breath is mostly a source of embarrassment or irritation for everyone of us. This health problem is technically called as ‘Halitosis’, and around 50-60% of the population suffers from this problem. Researches has shown that the sulphur gases are most responsible for bad breath (hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan), and are also potentially damaging the tissues in the mouth, and can also lead to periodontitis (inflammation of the gums and ligaments supporting the teeth). As periodontal disease increases, so may the halitosis, as bacteria gets collected in the pockets that are beside the teeth.
What are causes of bad breath
In most of the cases the problem is thought to be started from sources in the mouth, including poor oral hygiene, coating on the tongue, impacted food, faulty dental restorations, periodontal disease and throat infections. The remaining few are due to systemic disorders, such as peptic ulcer (when associated with infection), lung infections (bad breath can be the first sign in some cases), liver or kidney disease. Causes of bad breath includes accumulation of food within pockets around the teeth, among the bumps at the back of the tongue, or in small pockets in the tonsils; sloughed cells from the mouth; and reduced saliva flow. Mucus in the throat or sinuses can also serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Conditions are most favorable for odour production during the night and between meals.
How to get rid of Bad Breath
There are several things that could be done to cure bad breath, those includes lifestyle changes, nutritional suppliments and use of specific herbs.
Home remedies to prevent bad breath
Home oral hygiene is the most effective way to reduce building up bacteria that lead to halitosis. This includes regular tooth brush and floss just after the meal, or the use of oral irrigators to remove collection of food within pockets around the teeth. Regular dental care is recommended to prevent or treat gum disease because of its role in halitosis, treatment may include scaling of the teeth to remove tartar.
A reduced saliva flow also increases the collection of bacteria in the mouth and worsens bad breath. Routine things that increase saliva production (e.g., chewing sugarless gum and drinking adequate water) may improve halitosis associated with poor saliva flow.
Nutritional supplements that may help
Toothpastes or Mouthwashes that contain a compound called stabilized chlorine dioxide seems to help eliminate bad breath by directly breaking down sulphur compounds in the mouth. A mouth rinse containing zinc chloride was seen in another study to neutralize the damaging effect of methyl mercaptan on periodontal tissue in the mouth. Supplements that some doctors recommend for prevention and treatment of periodontitis include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, coenzyme Q10, and folic acid.
Herbal remedies bad breath
The effects of some commercial mouthwashes like Listerine™ may be because they contain thymol (Thyme oil) and eukalyptol (Eucalyptus oil) — volatile oils that have been proven to fight bacteria. Because of their antibacterial properties, other essential oils made from tea tree, clove, caraway, peppermint, and sage, as well as the herbs myrrh and bloodroot, might be considered in a mouthwash or toothpaste.