Many people who smell from the mouth believe bad breath is just fate. It is often easy to do something about the bad smells. Because only in the rarest cases is a stomach disease guilty of bad breath. Mostly they are rot processes in the mouth that can be easily managed with good oral hygiene. In 80 to 90 percent of all cases bad breath is caused by bacteria in the oral cavity. These nest mainly in interdental spaces, periodontal pockets and furrows on the back of the tongue. Here, the germs find optimal conditions to multiply: heat, moisture, protection against toothbrush heads and mouthwash.
How does bad breath develop?
The bacteria live on food remnants and shed mucosal cells, producing sulfur compounds and other gases that often smell of putrid eggs. These are mainly responsible for the bad breath. What to do?
Sulfurous compounds are mainly produced by the breakdown of protein. Therefore, protein-rich foods such as fish and dairy products can promote bad breath. Other foods, such as garlic, or smoking can cause short-term bad breath - but this is not a medical problem.
Even a too dry oral mucosa promotes bad breath. The reduced saliva production at night explains the unpleasant taste in the morning. Snoring and sleeping with an open mouth dry out the mucous membranes additionally.
Diseases are less responsible
Only rarely are diseases responsible for bad breath:
- Inflammation in the respiratory tract, for example tonsillitis or inflammation of the sinuses.
- In a gastritis, the breath can smell sour. The gastric mucosa is then changed inflammatory. And most patients also complain of stomach ache, have to knock open more often.
- If the breath smells of acetone like nail polish remover, the cause may be a poorly adjusted or unrecognized diabetes mellitus. This smell is also typical for people who are dieting or fasting. The body then lacks carbohydrates to convert fats into sugar. It form ketone bodies, which are noticeable in the breath as acetone odor.
- In women, the female cycle also plays a role. On the day of ovulation, two to four times higher levels of volatile sulfur compounds are measured in women than on other days.
Find the cause of halitosis
But how do you find out the cause? The first step should lead to the dentist. He checks the gums and the condition of the fillings and crowns. Because often caries, inflamed gums or remains of tooth roots, which rot slowly in the jaw, guilty of bad breath.
If the examination is inconclusive, step two is recommended: going to the ear, nose and throat doctor. He takes a close look at the nose, sinuses and throat.
If the ENT doctor does not find anything, an internal examination may be necessary to rule out gastrointestinal diseases or diabetes mellitus. A lung disease specialist can also diagnose respiratory and lung diseases.
Intense oral hygiene is most important
Once the cause is known, the bad breath can usually be easily eliminated. Careful oral hygiene, which also includes cleansing the tongue, can be successful quickly. Likewise, these measures can effectively prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth after each meal to deprive the bacteria of their livelihood. Clean the interdental spaces with dental floss or a toothbrush (pharmacy) once a day.
- Remove bacterial buildup between the papillae in the morning and in the evening with a special tongue cleaner. Replace the cleaner at the latest after two months.
- After consultation with the dentist, it may be useful to use a disinfectant mouthwash solution. Corresponding drugs from the pharmacy, for example with the active ingredient chlorhexidine, inhibit bacterial growth and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine solutions, however, only make sense temporarily because they have side effects during long-term use.
Good home remedies for bad breath
In addition, chewing juniper berries, parsley stalks, ginger or drinking hot lemon juice can help. Also helpful: Chlorophyll, the substance that gives leaves the green color, also neutralizes strong odors. The leaf green reduces the activity of protein-splitting enzymes.
And: Daily spoon a yogurt with active bacteria like Lactobacillus bulgaricus. These special yoghurt cultures keep the spread of putrefactive bacteria in check. Chewing gum and peppermint lozenges only temporarily mask bad breath but promote salivation.
Halitosis consultation hour
From America comes the idea of bad breath consultations, which are now increasingly established in Germany. Halitosis specialists and dentists work closely together here. After a detailed discussion with the patient, the examination of the oral cavity follows. With a special device, the Halimeter, the concentration of sulfur compounds in the breath can be determined. This method provides information on whether bacteria in the oral cavity are the source of the disease.
According to the results of the investigation, the treatment depends. If necessary, the patient receives a referral to a specialist. Ask your health insurance company if the costs for visiting a halitosis consultation are covered.