Studies show that stale breath can cause failures in personal and professional life, hinder self-realization, provoke mental disorders. But there is also good news. Unlike ancient healers, modern medicine knows more effective ways to solve the problem than rinsing your mouth with wine and infusions of dill and anise seeds.
The main causes of bad breath
A couple of extra cocktails the day before, borscht with garlic for lunch, smoking – in all these cases, bad breath appears as a result of biochemical reactions in the body, in which bad-smelling volatile substances are formed. Carbon sulfide (the smell of rotten eggs) and ethantiol (rotten cabbage) are especially distinguished, which appear if you use raw onions and garlic, asparagus, some types of cheeses, alcoholic beverages. The solution to the problem lies on the surface: giving up bad habits and moderate consumption of products containing sulfur will have a beneficial effect on the freshness of breathing.
Smoking and a person’s addiction to alcoholic beverages often force the interlocutors to move a little further away. At the same time, not only volatile substances arising in the process of metabolism are to blame for the appearance of an unpleasant odor. Both ethanol and smoking contribute to the drying out of the oral mucosa. Saliva also has an antibacterial effect. If it is not enough, pathogenic microorganisms that are always present in the oral cavity get more chances for life and rapid growth. The logical way to fix everything is to give up bad habits, drink enough fluids and use a non-alcoholic mouthwash (after consulting with a specialist).
The cause of the unpleasant odor in 90% of cases is hidden in the oral cavity. Bacteria accumulating on the tongue and in the interdental space with insufficiently thorough hygiene and dental diseases — caries, gingivitis, periodontitis and periodontal disease are to blame.
Most foul-smelling bacteria live on the surface of the tongue. That is why the test with a spoon, when assessing the smell of plaque scraped from the tongue, is most often used to diagnose “halitosis”. There is evidence that cleaning the tongue in the morning and evening may be a more effective way to deal with an unpleasant odor than brushing your teeth. But, of course, this is not a reason to forget about the toothbrush and dental floss.
Visiting the dentist at least once a year and timely solving problems with teeth and gums is one of the most effective ways to combat bad breath.
Diseases of ENT organs and gastrointestinal tract
The second most common cause of bad breath is diseases of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. “Extra-oral” accounts for 9% of all cases of halitosis. Sinusitis, adenoids, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, gastritis, gastro-esophageal reflux and stomach ulcers require treatment, as a result of which, as a rule, the symptom — stale breathing disappears.
Dry mouth and problems with fresh breath can provoke the use of certain medications, for example, antihistamines, diuretics, antidepressants. The problem disappears by itself after taking the drugs and does not require specific treatment.
Specific bad breath is a clinical symptom of some dangerous diseases and conditions. So, a putrid smell is possible in liver diseases, the smell of ammonia signals kidney failure, and the sharp smell of acetone indicates the threat of diabetic coma in diabetes mellitus. Unpleasant odors also accompany some oncological diseases.
Bad breath can be a consequence of strict diets and resulting metabolic disorders. So, for fans of the keto diet, the sharp smell of acetone (ketoacidosis) is characteristic, high-protein nutrition plans put a serious strain on the kidneys and liver and also contribute to the appearance of unpleasant odors. Official dietary guidelines in Russia consider a varied diet with a high content of vegetables and whole grains to be the healthiest.
The development of halitosis may be caused genetically. Bad breath in rare cases is the result of a genetic mutation in the gene encoding the SELENBP1 protein. A little encouragement to those who have become carriers of a rare mutation can be the fact that the same gene breakdown may prevent the growth of tumors.
This is the name of a person’s false belief that his breath smells unpleasant. Usually, the syndrome occurs as a psychological problem after treatment of halitosis: therapy has yielded results, but the patient continues to doubt success or is afraid of the return of the problem.