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Bad breath (halitosis)
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Bad breath (halitosis)

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Most adults suffer from bad breath occasionally, although it may affect up to a quarter of adults on a regular basis.

Bad breath is usually brought on by the breakdown of proteins by bacteria somewhere in the mouth. However, there are several other possible causes that affect the airways, esophagus and stomach that can also lead to bad breath.

Certain foods, health conditions and habits are among the causes of bad breath. In many cases you can improve bad breath with proper dental hygiene. If simple self-care techniques don't solve the problem, you may want to see your dentist or physician to rule out a more serious condition.

When to seek medical advice 

Most people can prevent or improve bad breath by practicing proper dental hygiene. If bad breath persists despite self-care, see your dentist. If the cause isn't dental, see your doctor to determine a possible medical cause. You may need a physical examination and testing to pinpoint the underlying cause.

Self-care 

Try the following steps to improve or prevent bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to brush after eating.

  • Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth.

  • Brush your tongue. Giving your tongue, including the back of your tongue, a good brushing removes dead cells, bacteria and food debris. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your tongue with at least five to 15 strokes.

  • Clean your dentures well. If you wear a bridge or a partial or complete denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist.

  • Drink plenty of water. To keep your mouth moist, be sure to consume plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates saliva, washing away food particles and bacteria. If you have chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may additionally prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.

  • Use a fairly new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.

  • Schedule regular dental checkups. At least twice a year, see your dentist to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.

You can teach your school-age children to brush and floss their teeth regularly and to brush their tongue to prevent bad breath. However, don't give children mouthwash to use, because many mouthwash products contain alcohol and can pose a risk for children if they swallow the liquid.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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