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FAQ on that foul smell, hey!

Halitosis. That is the medical term for bad breath. Most of us at one time or another have quite literally zipped our mouth shut because of that foul smell that even we ourselves cannot stand. How can the mouth, the organ that keeps us alive and that we associate with some of the most significant and pleasurable memories, smell like that garbage bag you forgot to take out two weeks ago? Let’s get some answers!

 Puppy smelling the baby’s breath

Image Source: H. Armstrong Roberts

Am I Born This Way?

Remedying halitosis is not a genetic battle. You cannot be born with bad breath; however, bad breath can persist even at a young age due to illnesses such as diabetes, cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ozena, as well as liver and kidney diseases. Even more interestingly, persistent and characteristic bad breath could actually be symptoms for other conditions. Here are the ones to be aware of:

  • Smelling too fruity? It does not sound bad but this could indicate ketoacidosis, a very serious condition resulting from a lack of insulin to process the sugars that you’ve had!
  • Talking ****? If your breath smells like poop, it is most likely a result of extended periods of vomiting and blocked bowels. That does not sound fun at all.
  • If it smells just like urine… it may be a sign of kidney failure.

BUT, most often, the reasons are far more simple and the culprit much more easily rid of. For instance… you may often ask:

When I Wake Up Why Do I Smell Cray?

Why do you have morning breath? This is because while you were fast asleep, your saliva machinery have also gone to bed. During the day, while the bacteria is chewing down on proteins and chemicals and producing volatile sulfur compounds that generate the waste, our saliva washes away this waste before it starts producing that nasty smell. Unfortunately, the bacteria factory works 24/7 and our saliva does not. If you sleep with your mouth open, morning breath is mostly likely worse for you because your mouth is likely to be even drier.

But Mine Smells More.. Well, There Are Reasons, Don’t Dismay.

Do you eat onion or garlic? Do you treat yourself out to spicy Mexican or Thai food? Do you need coffee or cigarettes to go through your day? These may be the culprits of your bad breath. These foods enter your bloodstream, eventually to your lungs, and every time you exhale, the distinct aroma comes out, too. However, those are all temporary. More seriously, it is important to have good oral hygiene. Food can not only get stuck between your teeth and your tongue, but also in your gums. This causes decay. This is the most common reason why people have bad breath. Long term neglect of oral hygiene, however, can cause more serious problems, like periodontal diseases.

And There Are Solutions?

Already brush your teeth every day? For non-disease related bad breath, flossing and brushing your tongue makes the biggest difference. Just like every thing else, it must be done right. Follow the contours of your teeth when flossing, making sure that you go beneath the gumline. This is especially important to remove small debris and plaque. It is normal to bleed especially for those that do not floss daily. Cleaning your tongue is probably the other best thing you can do to prevent halitosis. There are tongue scrapers that are coming into the market, but a normal toothbrush will do the job as well. Make sure to brush as far back as possible without gagging. And one last trick: drink water after having anything else that is not water. Water helps the generation of saliva and is miraculously good at loosening up debris. It also ensures your teeth do not stain.

So Do It Now Before You Kiss Your Bae!

Let halitosis be a thing of the past. If your bad breath persists despite proper dental hygiene, however, please do see a professional, as it may be a symptom of other underlying health issues.

Feature Image Source: French Kiss 2 by Christian Parreira

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