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Bad breath (Halitosis is the medical term) is the unpleasant odor exhaled by a person while breathing. Often, it is a temporary condition and does not cause any medical treatment. However, it can be embarrassing for the person suffering from it and unpleasant for people interacting with a person suffering from bad breath.

 

Bad breath can be caused by a number of  reasons:

1. Certain foods like garlic, onion, cheese, orange juice, soda. After the food is absorbed into the blood, the odor is transferred to the lungs and air exhaled will have an unpleasant smell. 

2.  If  you do not take proper care of  your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, particles of food remain in the mouth and decay.  Bacteria in plaque acting on the food generate unpleasant smelling gases. Sometimes, if a dental filling is not done properly, food particles may get trapped in the filling causing odor. Also if the nerve tissue is exposed and starts decaying, an unpleasant smell is produced.

3. When the amount of saliva produced in the mouth decreases, odor causing particles cannot be removed and the mouth does not remain clean. This causes bad breath.  Various ailments like sinusitis, diabetes and medications can also cause bad breath.

4. Smoking, tobacco products and drinking also cause bad breath.

 

Bad breath can be prevented by brushing and flossing teeth regularly. All dental problems should be treated immediately. The tongue surface should also be cleaned.  If  bad breath is due to an ailment, the medical problem should be treated.

 

If bad breath is due to a dry mouth, you should increase your fluid intake and use sugarless candy to increase saliva production. Mouth fresheners - mints and mouthwashes containing alcohol provide only temporary relief, since they can mask the odor for a short time only. Adding lemon juice to the water you drink also helps.  Some patients have found non alcoholic mouth rinses containing antibacterial agents  useful.

 

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