Anatomy And Physiology

Bad Breath

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Bad Breath

It’s as simple as that. Breath that is bad. Foul smelling, unpleasant, rancid - just unimaginable scents emanate from the mouth person. From a scientific standpoint, bad breath is called ‘halitosis.’ By definition, halitosis is a medical condition manifested by unpleasant odors that is noticeable when a person exhales.

They are millions of bacteria living in the mouth. During the first stage of digestion, the ‘mechanical digestion,’ food particles get stuck in between the spaces of the teeth and gums. The bacteria use the stuck food as well, their food. They particularly live in the back of a person’s mouth. By and large, they are the main culprits of bad breath.

They are types of bad breath that are normal. Case in point is morning breath. During the day, a person’s saliva washes away dead bacteria and decaying food particles and other odors. At night, during sleep however, a person’s body makes less saliva. The mouth then becomes dry. The dead cells now stick to the sides of your mouth, particularly the cheeks and the back of the tongue. When the bacteria digest the dead cells, they produce the foul odors that are evident during mornings when one wakes up.

There are several causes of bad breath. One of the most common is poor oral and dental hygiene. This is caused by the improper brushing of teeth and not flossing, which gets food particles stuck in between the spaces of the teeth and gums. Continued unabated, this leads to the second cause of bad breath: mouth infections. The mouth infections can either be tooth cavities or periodontal disease. Either way, one of the two can lead to the other one. Another cause is respiratory tract infections. These are infections in the lungs, sinus, and throat, or just about anywhere the air we breathe passes through. Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is caused by salivary gland problems, medications, or breathing through the mouth. This brings us to the above paragraph, where the dead cells are not washed away. If you have at least even one of the above causes, you are warranted to get a visit to a professional, which in most cases, is a dentist.

There are times when the food we eat affects the way our breath smells. When the food we eats gets digested, it moves into the other parts of our body, case in point, lungs. The molecules that compose the food reach the lungs, and are carried away when we exhale. Foods with strong odors (such as garlic, onions, etc.) will continue to affect one’s breath until it is fully removed from the body (it only takes a maximum of two days).

Be it caused by food or medical conditions, having bad breath warrants you to get immediate treatment if you don’t want other people talking behind your back about you ‘mouth problems.’

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