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Debunking The Top 5 Myths of Bad Breath

Debunking The Top 5 Myths of Bad Breath (Halitosis)

If you don’t put enough effort into maintaining your oral health, bad breath (halitosis) might strike! Social awkwardness and lowered self-esteem are some of the common things that follow bad breath. Sometimes, it can be a sign of other health problems. This is why bad breath isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of myths that surround it. Read on to discover those myths and how true they are.

Myth 1: Bad Breath Is Always An Isolated Condition

Due to its symptoms, many people believe that bad breath can only be caused by the oral cavity (mouth). However, research shows that bad breath can also originate from outside the mouth such as the ear, nose and throat, intestine, kidneys or lungs.1 Moreover, metabolic disorders and certain types of cancer can also cause a person to develop mouth odour.

Always consult your dentist first to know the specific cause of your bad breath, because it could just be poor oral hygiene habits!

Myth 2: Bad Breath and Intestinal Health Are Unrelated

Another common misconception many people have is that bad breath is never related to intestinal health, nor is it ever caused by the stomach. This is false. Gastrointestinal-related bad breath is an actual health issue that happens because of the stomach’s acid reflux.

This health issue is medically known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). In order to fully recover from GERD, there are a number of lifestyle changes needed, including maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking, and it’s always better to start sooner than later!

Another reason behind bad breath that is related to intestinal health is a blockage in the digestive tract. When such a thing happens, the food that’s stuck in the digestive tract will ferment and cause a bad breath problem. Pay a visit to the dentist for a check-up if you suspect that this could be the case and let them put you at ease.

Myth 3: Going on a Diet Can Cause Bad Breath

This is partially true as it depends on the dietary changes you are making. Firstly, bad breath is more common among those who are going through extreme dieting or skipping meals. This is because the act of chewing actually increases the production of saliva in the mouth. When you aren’t eating as much as before (you started going on a diet), the saliva you produce reduces significantly, and if bacteria finds its way into your mouth, bad breath happens.

For more specific diet types such as ketogenic diets (no carbs, high protein and fat diet) and the Atkins diet (low carbohydrates diet), people tend to experience bad breath once they reach full ketosis as it is a common side effect.

Full ketosis is a state where your body starts burning fats and turns them into energy for your body, which is the ultimate goal for those going through such diet plans. This is caused by the increase in ketone levels that can only exit the body through urine and breath.

Myth 4: You Can Check for Bad Breath by Breathing Into Your Cupped Hands

Every now and then, you will notice a person in a TV show checking whether their breath is fresh before going on a date. While it seems plausible, it is not a reliable method to check for bad breath, and here’s why. The odour you pick up from breathing into your palms comes from the front area of your mouth. Meanwhile, the odour from the actual sources: the inner area of your mouth and the nasal cavity, including the throat and the back of your tongue, is not picked up.

Here’s a life hack: In order to better check for bad breath on the go, you can try licking your wrist to see if your saliva smells fishy. Just remember to not do it in public!

Myth 5: Brushing Or Scraping The Tongue Is Enough To Eliminate Bad Breath

Many people believe that brushing their tongues as they brush their teeth can get rid of bad breath entirely as it removes accumulated bacteria, dead cells and food debris. As we have shared above, bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, including intraoral and extraoral factors.

This will only work if your bad breath problem originated from the bacteria on your tongue, because bacteria can also hide in the areas between your teeth and your gums. Ultimately, good dental hygiene is the key to achieving fresh breath, and this includes regularly brushing your teeth and using a mouth rinse.

Follow These 7 Tips for Fresh Breath

According to our dentist, Dr Jimmy, the treatments for bad breath are tied to changes in lifestyle. Good oral hygiene practices can go a long way in fighting off bad breath and ensure you can go about your day with full confidence! Here are some tips for fresher breath:

Brush your tongue and floss your teeth regularly.

Food debris can linger on your tongue and the area in between your teeth. Enrich your routine with these two good habits and bad breath problems will be gone in no time.

Use fluoridated toothpaste.

Fluoride plays an important role in strengthening and developing the teeth enamel. It also slows down the acid production of bacteria caused by plaque. Stay hydrated. To get fresher breath, make sure to drink at least 8 cups of water a day as water helps encourage saliva flow. If you happen to be following a strict diet plan, this becomes even more important.

Stay hydrated.

To get fresher breath, make sure to drink at least 8 cups of water a day as water helps encourage saliva flow. If you happen to be following a strict diet plan, this becomes even more important.

Change your toothbrush regularly.

A frayed toothbrush will no longer be able to clean the teeth effectively. Change your toothbrush after every three months or as soon as it gets worn.

Avoid foods with a strong odour profile.

As a rule of thumb, ignore foods that have a strong odour such as garlic. Moreover, make it a point to include green vegetables and crunchy fruits in your diet because it helps encourage the production of saliva. Saliva naturally cleans teeth by washing away food debris.

Clean your dentures every day.

If you are using dentures or any other removable orthodontic appliances, instil the habit of removing and cleaning them every night before you go to bed. It helps to significantly reduce the build-up of food debris. Change your toothbrush regularly. A frayed toothbrush will no longer be able to clean the teeth effectively. Change your toothbrush after every three months or as soon as it gets worn.

Review your oral medications (pills and tablets) with your dentist or doctor.

For instance, medicine for allergies such as antihistamines is known to cause dry mouth, which may lead to bad breath.

Now that you have finished going through our list, you know a little bit more about bad breath, its symptoms and possible treatments. The next time you hear your relatives or friends discussing these issues, you would be well equipped to share what you have learnt!

References

  • 1. Seemann, R., Bizhang, M., Djamchidi, C., Kage, A., & Nachnani, S. (2006). The proportion of pseudo-halitosis patients in a multidisciplinary breath malodour consultation. International dental journal, 56(2), 77–81.
  • 2. Musa-Veloso, K., Likhodii, S. S., & Cunnane, S. C. (2002). Breath acetone is a reliable indicator of ketosis in adults consuming ketogenic meals. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 76(1), 65–70.
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Debunking The Top 5 Myths of Bad Breath