Healthy people with healthy mouths who clean their teeth daily are expected to have a fresh non-odorous breath. Fresh breath gives you the confidence to be close to others and enjoy life without worrying about looking for upsetting “body language” from those near you to indicate you have a problem.Unfortunately many things can produce an abnormal balance that affects our breath and can result in bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis.For more information on what can cause you to have bad breath.
Things that can cause bad breat
– unclean teeth, by lack of toothbrushing and flossing
– Dental plaque (now known as biofilm) is a sticky whitish film that starts to build up on teeth within 24 hours of eating or drinking. It contains bacteria which can release toxins that cause gum disease, tooth discolouration and also acid in the presence of sugar that leads to tooth decay.
– the food and drink we ingest e.g. garlic, alcohol
– cigarette/cigar smoking – Tooth decay and gum disease can also lead to bad breath.
– Certain types of oral bacteria can build up in sufficient numbers in secluded areas of the mouth, particularly in crevices, cavities and as a coating over the back of the tongue. The bacteria are known as anaerobic because they thrive in the absence of oxygen. Because the bacterial colony can grow without oxygen it can become quite a thick discoloured layer on the surface of the back of the tongue. The growth of this type of bacteria is retarded or slowed by the presence of high levels of oxygen, and it is this weakness that gives us a simple treatment for bad breath.It is easy to check for the presence of bacterial plaque on the back of the tongue by standing in front of a mirror, poking the tongue out of the mouth and closely inspecting the surface of the tongue.The reason this colony of anaerobic bacteria on the tongue is so significant is because of the metabolic by-products that it produces, called volatile sulphur compounds (VSC). These compounds have the same bad smell as the gas produced by a rotting egg (hydrogen sulphide). So the bad breath is caused by the bacteria creating the gaseous VSC.
University studies suggest that people who do not have bad breath invariably do not have these anaerobic bacteria in large quantities in their mouths. Instead they have a better balanced “good” collection of bacteria. Another method of managing bad breath then is to try and replace the bad anaerobic bacteria with the good oxygen-loving (or aerobic) bacteria. This is known as the probiotic approach.
– Finally some medical conditions result in a release of gases from the lungs, such as the ketone gases of diabetes etc
– Other conditions or medications can affect the normal flow of saliva through the salivary glands and into the mouth.
The flow rate and chemical composition of saliva serves to neutralise and flush the mouth of the effect of the plaque bacteria. Anything that reduces this function of saliva (like salivary gland disease, reduction in physiologic functioning of the salivary glands that occurs naturally in old age and during sleep or certain prescribed medications) can also result in bad breath,Hence the phenomenon well known as “morning breath” also noticed during stress or excercise, which is related to a reduction of salivary flow (drying of the mouth) acting together with the bad breath causing oral bacteria.