Bad Breath: The Facts
According to available estimates, the number of people suffering from bad breath reaches about 50% of the population in industrialized countries such as ours.
The medical term is halitosis from the Latin halitus, meaning bad breath and osis, meaning malady, trouble.
Basic bad breath facts
In Japan, a study of 2,600 people showed that, "23% of this population had a level of bad breath higher than a socially acceptable level…”. And so, bad breath can provoke all sorts of personal worries such as social embarrassment. It is thus important to get back to sweet-smelling breath and avoid nasty surprises for those in close contact, whether it's at work or in your love life.
Luckily, in most cases bad breath is a temporary rather than permanent state. For instance, morning bad breath can be eradicated with a good brushing. This particular bad breath problem comes about due to a diminution of saliva production when you sleep.
Both men and women suffer equally from bad breath, and at all ages. It is however noted that:
- Women seek professional help for bad breath more often than men;
- Elderly people suffer more from bad breath due to a number of reasons, such as a lack of saliva or gum problems, which cause the stagnation of bacteria, leading to bad breath.
Often people don’t do anything about their bad breath, thinking it unimportant, thinking it will go away by itself, due to embarrassment or perhaps as we will see, because they have no idea what is causing it or how to fix it.
To get the upper hand on bad breath, you need to:
- Judge whether you have bad breath or not;
- Identify the cause of your bad breath, oral or not;
- Know what is further impacting your bad breath;
- Find out what cures are available for your bad breath.
True or false about bad breath?
- Bad breath is caused by garlic, onions and coffee
False. Everyone knows that certain foods such as onion, garlic or cauliflower leave their odour on the breath, but this is only temporary and is nothing like the odours provoked by bad breath. Regarding onion and garlic, the problem is special due to the rapidity with which these pass into the blood after eating. Part of the odour problem coming from the mouth originates from the air expelled by the lungs.
- Minted sweets and chewing gums eliminate bad breath
False. Minted chewing gum, sweets and pastilles only camouflage bad breath but do nothing to prevent or cure bad breath, which carries on happily under the cover of a minty veil!
- Cigarette smoking causes bad breath
True. As well as emitting a strong tobacco smell, smokers increase the risk of developing gum diseases, which in turn encourage the accumulation of bacteria, scale and pus-filled abscesses. Bad breath is a symptom of most of these oral woes.
- Only people who don’t brush their teeth properly get bad breath
False. Obviously, a lack of oral hygiene is one of the possible causes of halitosis. However, some people develop bad breath despite rigorous oral hygiene. This could stem from a predisposition to gum problems, but in many cases, bad breath can originate from other places, not related to the mouth. This is why it’s important to seek professional help – your bad breath could be the symptom of an underlying health problem.