Bad breath is a common health problem in the society. Offensive smell from the mouth may be due to various reasons. The main reason is the presence of anaerobic bacteria in the biofilm formed on the tongue .These bacteria degrades the proteins present in the food resulting in the production of some offensive gases like hydrogen sulphide, skatol etc.
Bad odor from the mouth in the early morning is seen in almost all individuals. This can be controlled by maintaining oral hygiene. Even after cleaning the mouth some individuals may suffer from bad breath due to some problem in the mouth or in the nearby areas. Some general disease condition can also produce bad breath. Exact cause has to be identified and should be treated accordingly. Some common measures to cure or reduce bad breath are discussed here.
1) Oral hygiene:
Mouth should be kept clean every time to reduce the bacterial action. After food gargling with lukewarm water is very essential. Even after small food articles like snacks, sweets, biscuits cleaning with water is needed. Brushing should be done twice daily. It is said that early morning brushing is for beauty and bed time brushing is for good health.
2) Brushing techniques:
Normal brushing technique should be followed for better result. Many people brush vigorously causing damage to the gums. Brushing after every food and drink can damage the enamel .Bristles of the tooth brush should be smooth but hard enough to remove the food particles from the gaps. The direction of brushing is the most important thing. The upper teeth should be brushed in a downward direction and the lower in upward direction. This is applicable to both inner and outer surfaces. Next comes the crown of the teeth; here brushing is done in anterior and posterior direction keeping the brush in same direction. This applicable to both upper and lower set of teeth.
3) Tongue cleaning:
White or yellowish coating on the tongue can cause bad breath. This is more well marked in the morning and should be removed twice daily with the help of a tongue cleaner. Tongue cleaner must be used gently without damaging the taste buds on the tongue.
4) Tooth pick:
Tooth pick is a small strip of wood or plastic with a pointed end. This is used to remove food particles lodged between the gaps. Very useful after eating meat and fish. Should be used gently to avoid damage to gums.
After every meal gargling with lukewarm water is useful. For better result little common salt is dissolved in the lukewarm water .Different types of mouth wash is available in the market in different trade names. Gargling with mouth wash can also reduce bad breath.
6) Food habits:
Protein containing food articles are known to produce bad breath. Example; meat, milk, fish, egg etc. If these food articles are taken proper cleaning is essential. Some food articles are known to produce particular smell which may be unpleasant for others. Raw onion is the best example. It is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away and a raw onion a day keep every body away. Small food articles taken in between can also cause bad smell (nuts, fried items etc).Maintaining regularity in food timing is the most important thing.
7) Water intake:
Dryness in the mouth can make a favourable condition for the bacterial activity resulting in bad odor. Saliva is needed to keep the mouth moist and to reduce the bacterial proliferation. Production of saliva is closely related with water balance of the body and hence sufficient quantity of water should be taken to maintain the production of saliva.
8) Mouth fresheners:
Natural and artificial mouth fresheners can reduce the intensity of bad breath to some extent. Spicy articles are commonly used for this purpose. Chewing spices like clove, cumin seed, cardamon, cinnamon, ginger etc are useful. All citrus fruits can reduce bad odor. Mouth fresheners and chewing gums are available in the market. These products are also helpful ,but some may cause damage hence should be used with caution.
Consider the following:-
1) Remove the cause:
Bad breath is common in some general and systemic diseases like diabetes,fevers,gastric disorders,liver diseases and etc. By removing or reducing the primary cause the bad breath will go automatically.
2) Modern medicine:
If bad breath is due to any infection suitable antibiotics, anti fungal or anti viral medicines will help. If it is due to any autoimmune or chronic inflammatory conditions steroids may also be used. Saliva producing tablets can also be used.
3) Dental cleaning:
Dental cleaning done by a dentist can remove the dental plaques and tartar. This can reduce the severity of bad breath. Visit your dentist at least once in a year.
4) Filling of caries:
Since caries are one of the main cause for bad breath it should be filled by a dentist. Earlier silver amalgam was used ,nowadays it is replaced by synthetic materials. If the pulp cavity is affected by the caries root canal treatment can be done.
5) Tooth extraction:
If caries are deep with destruction of teeth with bad smell extraction is the better choice and a dental implant can be kept in the gap.
Patients with recurrent tonsillitis can have bad breath due to offensive discharges and release of pasty materials from the crypts of tonsils. Such patients get great relief after tonsillectomy(removal of tonsils).
7) Psychological counseling:
Those who suffer from bad breath may be very much depressed and they be away from the public .This isolation hampers their day to day activities. Such people should understand the fact that all human beings are having bad breath, but with slight differences in intensities. Mostly all people control it by taking personal care. Every human body has got it’s own smell, that may or may not be tolerable for others. They should be advised to do all hygienic measures to reduce the intensity of smell. Improving the quality of life by all possible means can also help. Moral support from friends and family members are needed for such people.
Some individuals visit the doctor for bad breath without any real problem. It is included under somatisation disorder. They usually complain about pain, breathlessness, abdominal discomfort, bad smell etc. proper diagnosis is needed to rule out any real causes. These patients should be managed with a psychological approach.
In Homeopathy medicines are selected on the basis of physical ,mental, emotional, and social aspects of the diseased person. Considering the whole aspects a constitutional homeopathic medicine is selected and given in suitable potency and dose. By this all health related problems including bad breath will be solved. On the basis of coating on the tongue, type of smell, cause for bad breath, and other associated complaints a medicine can be given to get relief from bad breath. In the homeopathic medical repertory by Dr Robin Murphy there are 140 homeopathic drugs mentioned for bad breath. On the basis of signs and symptoms of the individual a suitable medicine is given. Commonly used drugs are arnica, antim crud, pulsatilla, sulphur, psorinum, nux vomica, ars alb, merc sol, kreosot, hekla lava, silicea, asafoitida, graphites, kali bich, acid nitric etc.
Homeopathic mother tinctures like cinnamon, kreosot, zingiber, rhus glabra, menthol etc can be used for gargling after diluting in water.
[POINTS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR GENERAL AWARENESS. ANY BODY SUFFERING FROM BAD BREATH SHOULD CONSULT A DOCTOR.]