Bad breath is medically termed as Halitosis. It is often offensive and disagreeable odor that comes from the mouth. The worldwide prevalence rate of bad breath is believed to range from 22 to 50%. Halitosis can happen as a result of poor dental hygiene or may be a symptom of any underlying pathology.
What is Bad Breath?
Bad breath or Halitosis can be defined as unpleasant smell coming from the mouth. This can happen due to various causes in any individual.
Bad breath happens due to
- Food: Food particles that stay in the oral cavity after eating or due to poor oral hygiene can lead to bad smell in the mouth. Food may get stuck between the teeth and can lead to dental plaques or bacterial growth which leads to halitosis. Particular food items like exotic spices, excess eating of garlic cloves, cheese, fish, acidic beverages, coffee can leave a lingering smell in the mouth.
- Fewer intakes of carbohydrates can lead to Ketone breath. Consumption of carbohydrates cause the body to burn fat and the energy is converted to ketones. This cause a fruity acetone like odor when the breath is exhaled out. In case of highly diabetic individuals, this may indicate uncontrolled sugar levels in the blood.
- Excess use of Tobacco products – Smoking and chewing tobacco products often leads to bad breath. It can also lead to gum diseases or oral cancers
- Poor oral health – When the oral hygiene is poor or when a person do not brush regularly, the food particles remain between the teeth and it results in plaque and cause bad odors. When the plaque is not cleared it hardens and holds bacteria which can leads to gum diseases. The inflammation of the gum leads to gum disease called as gingivitis.
- Associated with health problems – Many times halitosis occur as a symptom with other health issues like sinusitis, pneumonia, throat infections, common cold, flu, tonsillitis, diabetes, acid reflux etc.
- Dry mouth –The condition of dry oral cavity is called as xerostomia. There is very less production of saliva in the mouth which leads to dryness in the oral cavity. Dry mouth happens due to salivary gland issues, medication or breathing pattern through mouth.
- Allergies – Many medicines used to treat allergies causes dry mouth. Sinus congestion due to allergies leads to mouth breathing which results in dryness.
- Infections in the oral cavity – Presence of cavities, gum diseases, or decayed teeth may lead to halitosis.
- Dental braces – People with dentures or braces gets the food particles stuck in between the teeth. This releases a bad odor or causes infections in the mouth.
- Medication – Continuous use of certain medicines like anti histamines, diuretic etc. can cause dry mouth.
- Bad breath in the morning is very common in many people because saliva production is very less during sleep. This can also be a cause for bacteria to grow.
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy if there is continuous nausea and vomiting, it can lead to bad breath. In addition, body undergoes a lot of hormonal variations, dehydration or eating various foods due to carvings. All these can cause halitosis during pregnancy.
- Other common causes are – excess intake of alcohol, large doses of vitamin supplements.
Symptoms of bad breath include
- Dryness of mouth
- Unpleasant or sour taste in mouth
- Coating in tongue
As per Ayurveda bad breath is happens due to result of ama (the undigested food) and dull metabolism in the body. It can be accompanied with symptoms of bad odor, slow digestion, flatulence or digestive disorders like gastritis and IBS
- Take adequate amount of fluids like pomegranate juice, lemon juice, Amla juice, sweet lime juice, tender coconut water. Reduce intake of dairy products
- Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables – Moringa, spinach. Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Carrot, Beans, Cucumber, green beans, white pumpkins, bitter gourd, Beetroot, etc.
- Fruits: Orange, Pears, plums, and apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Grapefruit, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries
- Grains: whole rains, oats, oat bran, old rice, barley, green gram, Most beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
- Spices: Clove, Coriander, Ginger, Garlic, Pepper, turmeric, Asafoetida
Nuts: Almonds, cashews, raisins, walnuts, and Flax seeds