Are You Afraid to Speak to People Because of Bad Breath


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Are You Afraid to Speak to People Because of Bad Breath (Halitosis)?



The noticeably unpleasant odours exhaled in breathing is a medical condition known as Halitosis.


Mostly Halitosis originates in the mouth itself. The strength of the breath changes during the day, due to eating some foods, such as meat, fish, cheese, garlic and onions. It is also affected by smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption. During the night the mouth is exposed to less oxygen, because it is inactive, resulting in the odour being worse on waking up ("morning breath"). Bad breath can be temporary, often going after flossing, brushing one's teeth, rinsing with a high quality mouthwash or just eating. Chronic bad breath is a more significant condition is when bad breath is there all the time and it affects around one person in four. This can lead to poor self-esteem and increased stress by affecting the individual's business, social, and personal relationships so it needs a bad breath cure.



Tongue bacteria is the most frequent cause of mouth-related halitosis accounting for 80- 90% of all cases of mouth-related bad breath. Naturally-occurring bacteria can be found on the back of the tongue. This area is dryish and often poorly cleaned so the bacteria happily grow on the natural foods it finds in this area.

Tongue Cleaning

The most widely-known reason to clean the tongue is for the control of bad breath. Special tongue cleaners can be purchased or an inverted teaspoon may also do the job. Gently clean the tongue surface twice daily to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris, and mucus. Using a small amount of antibacterial mouth rinse or toothgel helps inhibit bacterial action. Scraping or otherwise damaging the tongue, along with scraping of the V-shaped row of taste buds found at the extreme back of the tongue should also be avoided. Do not use a toothbrush as it only spreads the bacteria around the mouth. Mints, mouth sprays, mouthwash or gum only temporarily mask the odours created by the bacteria on the tongue, as they do not remove the source of the bad breath.

Gum disease

Sub-gingival bacteria (growing below the gum-line) can give off waste products which can give off a very strong odour. By removing the sub-gingival plaque by a dental hygienist can alleviate the problem.


There are hundreds of different bacteria found in the average mouth some of which can produce high levels of bad smells when the proteins break down. Also bacteria can remain around the edges of the gums, in faulty dental work, areas in between the teeth where food gets caught, abscesses, and unclean dentures. Viral infections can cause oral based lesions which can also cause odour.


The second main cause of odour is from the nose which is a very different smell to oral odour. This may be due to an infection of the sinuses.


Tonsils are a minor cause of smell when small bits of calcified matter in tonsillar crypts called tonsilloliths are detached. This occurs in about one in twenty of the population.


A Hiatus Hernia, where the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus does not seal properly, allows foul gases escape to the mouth. Also old food could be trapped in the oesophagus causing bad breath.


Apart from belching the stomach is not considered a common source of bad breath.

Other causes

Although unlikely, if all the previous causes are eliminated there could be another medical condition, and as such you should consult your doctor.

How to Manage Halitosis

At the current time, chronic halitosis is not very well understood by doctors and dentists. Therefore ways to treat it are not clear but initially the following should be tried.

 •Maintain a good oral hygiene regime. Brushing, tongue cleaning and flossing. Dentures must be cleaned and soaked overnight in an antibacterial solution.
 •Eat rough foods (cereal or brown toast) for breakfast which will clean the base of the tongue.
 •To increase the production of saliva, which will help remove bacteria, in a dry mouth use sugarless chewing gum. It can also be used when normal oral hygiene cannot be undertaken, especially after meals containing meat.
 •Use an effective mouthwash which has been recommended by a dentist or pharmacist to gargle right before bedtime. Do not do this immediately after brushing as the soap in some toothpastes can neutralise the active ingredients.


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