What is Bad Breath / Halitosis?
Bad breath, or halitosis, is noticeably unpleasant odor that emanates when a person breaths or speaks. I can impact a person’s life because of the fear of offending people. It can make people shy away from social situations and relationships. It can rob a person of their self esteem.
Halitosis can be worse following the consumption of certain foods such as garlic, onions, meat and even cheeses. Halitosis can be worse in the morning due to the lack of oxygen in a person’s mouth as they sleep. Sometimes bad breath comes and goes after a person eats or drinks something.
There are different parts of the mouth that cause bad breath. It can start in the gums, tongue and even in faulty dental work. It is caused by the anaerobic breakdown of protein by the over 600 types of bacteria in the mouth. This breakdown produces odors that translate into bad breath.
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Symptoms
The symptoms of bad breath are pretty simple. It is an offensive odor that emanates from the mouth. It is very hard for people to diagnose if they have bad breath themselves. There are many suggestions for testing your breath out there and not all of them are effective. One test is to lick the back of your wrist, wait for the saliva to dry and then smell your wrist.
This can amplify the smell and is not recommended. A better way is to scrape the back of your tongue with a plastic spoon and then smell the drying saliva.
If you have someone close to you that you trust will give you and honest opinion, you can always ask them to smell your breath. Often people cannot smell their own breath no matter how hard they try.
Often, a bad taste in the mouth is viewed as an indication that a person’s breath smells; but this just is not the case. You cannot use a bad taste in your mouth to diagnose halitosis.
Bad Breath Remedies (Halitosis)
There are many remedies and cures for bad breath. Excellent oral hygiene is the place to start. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and make sure to floss at night before bed. The tongue should be cleaned twice daily with a tongue cleaner and you can also brush a small amount of mouth wash on your tongue to inhibit bacterial growth.
A natural remedy for better breath is to rinse your mouth each morning with a small amount of lemon juice after you brush your teeth. Immediately following the lemon rinse eat a serving of non-fat plain yogurt. The active cultures in the yogurt will keep the bad bacteria in your mouth at bay.
There are also herbs that have been used in many cultures since ancient times to cure bad breath. Mint and parsley are excellent breath fresheners.
Eucalyptus, thyme, and the oil of the wintergreen plant are all herbal remedies for halitosis. Other less commercially popular, but still effective remedies include anise, cardamom, sage, coriander and dill.
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