How Do You Know If You Have

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How Do You Know If You Have Bad Breath?

 

Because the oral and nasal cavity is connected it is unlikely that a person will know for that they have bad breath, as the nose is trained to ignore background odours. This is unfortunate as halitosis is a very common problem which most people will suffer from at some time in their lives. However, there are some simple tests you can discreetly do at home to help determine if you have a problem with breath odor.

The easiest test to do is to lick your wrist and leave it for 10 to 30 seconds so that the saliva dries a little and then sniff your wrist. If it smells unpleasant then you probably have a breath problem (for obvious reasons, this test should neither be done after brushing your teeth, drinking or eating as this can distort the results). But this test is not entirely reliable as bad breath often originates from the back of the mouth, therefore you have to test this area too.

For a more reliable indication of how your breath smells to other people you will need a clean spoon, preferably made from plastic. Turn the spoon upside down and scrape the back of your tongue to remove some of the saliva, which may be slightly thick and white in appearance. Smelling this saliva sample is a fairly good way of knowing if you have bad breath.

You can also try cupping your hands over your nose and mouth and exhaling through your mouth before quickly breathing in through your nose. By doing this you may possible get a brief whiff of how your breath really smells. However, it is difficult to get a reliable result from this breath test.

By far the most reliable way to know how your breath smells is to ask someone close to you who you believe will give an honest answer. Often people are reluctant to give a genuine answer if the person asking truly does have bad breath as they wish to avoid causing offense. If your friend or relative denies you have a problem but you still feel you may have halitosis then you may wish to consult your dentist or family doctor for an honest opinion. They can use a device called a halimeter to determine the extent of your breath odor.

Other halitosis symptoms include a frequent bad taste in the mouth. These unpleasant tastes are usually bitter or metallic. An absence of bad tastes cannot be taken as confirmation that you do not have halitosis, as symptoms are so individual. Some people worry that the presence of tonsiloliths (foul smelling white nodules which may form on the tonsils) means they have bad breath. While it is true tonsil conditions can exasperate a breath problem, tonsiloliths can be found in anyone who still has their tonsils and they are not the cause of halitosis.

You are particularly at risk of bad breath if you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, suffer from sinus problems or are taking antihistamines or other medication which dry the mouth. Poor oral hygiene can be a significant factor in bad breath but halitosis still occurs in many who people who take care of their teeth and gums. Some people, it seems, are genetically predisposed towards problems which can be linked to breath odor. Women may also be prone to bad breath during pregnancy and in the days leading up to their period, and may notice a little bleeding from their gums when they brush their teeth due to hormone changes.

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