Jinja: Foul breath is a common issue that most people experience from time to time, but for some individuals, it is a persistent problem. Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is a constant and disagreeable odor in exhaled breath that can be indicative of various underlying health conditions.
According to Dr. Bright Isabirye, a dentist at Hope Smiles, there are several symptoms associated with halitosis. These include a white coating on the tongue, particularly at the back, dry mouth, buildup around teeth, post-nasal drip, morning bad breath, a burning tongue, thick saliva, a constant need to clear one’s throat, and a sour, bitter, or metallic taste in the mouth.
While consuming certain strongly flavored foods may cause temporary bad breath, chronic halitosis is often linked to poor dental hygiene and untreated periodontal disease due to the presence of excessive bacteria. Dental caries, as well as ear, nose, and throat infections like sinusitis and postnasal drips, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and other systemic diseases, can also contribute to bad breath.
“Bad breath can be categorized into two types: one caused by the gum condition gingivitis, and the other by cavities or holes in the teeth. Food residues that stick to your teeth and tongue can decompose, emitting a foul odor if not properly brushed away. Negative lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are also common causes of bad breath,” explains Dr. Isabirye.
While halitosis can be prevented, there are instances when it may result from stomach ulcers. In such cases, a dentist may recommend a medical checkup to rule out any other oral health issues that could be contributing to bad breath.
Addressing treatment, Dr. Isabirye emphasizes the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene. Regularly brushing your teeth after each meal, especially after supper, and spending at least five minutes doing so can significantly reduce bad breath. Additionally, flossing is essential to remove food particles stuck between the teeth. Dr. Isabirye recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months and using appropriate toothpaste and toothbrushes for optimal oral care. Regular dental checkups, even when not in pain, are crucial for ensuring oral health.
Dr. Isabirye also advises against relying solely on teeth whitening as a solution for halitosis. While teeth whitening may improve appearance, it does not address the underlying bacteria causing bad breath.