FOUR FACTS ABOUT MOUTH ODOUR THAT YOU MUST KNOW!

mouth odour
 

#1: Most times, mouth odour doesn’t come from the teeth, (and sometimes, it doesn’t even come from the mouth!)

Sometimes, bad breath doesn’t come from the mouth; it only comes through the mouth. And even, when it comes from the mouth, unlike what most people think, most times, it comes from the tongue and gums–and not the teeth. There are many causes (from the mouth): poor oral hygiene; gum infections (red, swollen gums that bleeds easily), tooth decay and abscess (pus in-between and at the base of the teeth); mouth infections (like oral candidiasis); open wounds or burns; dry mouth and reduced saliva production (as occurs during sleep or fasting); dentures (and “artificial teeth”); and so on. Respiratory tract infections, diabetes, kidney failure, liver disease, lungs infections, digestive tract diseases can also cause bad breath. Smoking and chewing tobacco are notorious culprits too.

#2: It is difficult for you to know that you have mouth odour, (and more difficult for people to tell you that you do!)

“Person no dey know if im mout dey smell!” Very true. The cells in the nose that detect odour quickly get used to the odour and no longer “smell” it. But a poor way to know is this: lick the back of your hand; allow the saliva to dry for some seconds; smell it–that’s how your breath smells (but slightly exaggerated, anyway)! People, even your spouse, may not want you feeling embarrassed, so they would rather walk away than tell you about it. But, you could get a very honest friend and ask, “Does my mouth smell bad? Have you noticed any bad breaths? Sometimes? Always?” Ask two or three of such friends. “Na person wey like you go tell you say ya mout dey smell!”

#3: You must know the right things to do to help your self, (and the right time to visit the doctor for further help)

Do you have bad breath? Try the simple solutions first: brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (and don’t forget to brush the tongue, especially the part at the back of the mouth, and other difficult-to-reach parts); replace toothbrush after every few months of use; floss once everyday to remove trapped food particles; gargle and rinse the mouth after every meal, preferably with alcohol-less mouthwashes and mouth sprays; remove dentures before sleeping; learn to use sugarless chewing gums, mints, and lozenges [“Sugarless” because the bacteria that cause odours love sugar and trapped food particles. Chewing gums increase saliva production–and this is good for good breath!] Stop smoking. Practise good oral hygiene; if the bad breath persists, see your dentist immediately!

#4: Mouth odour has terrible names and smell (and even more terrible are its effects on self-esteem and relationships!)

Mouth odour. Bad breath. Oral malodor. Halitosis. Fetor oris. Fetor ex ore. Ozostomia. Stomatodysodia. People look away, or cover nose and mouth when you talk. Friends don’t stay. People avoid you. It is humiliating. You find it very difficult maintaining close relationships. You might become excessively self-conscious, overly anxious, and depressed. This could affect everything about you and your life. Relationships are everything; don’t underestimate how this can shatter one’s life goals. There are, however, several instances where the person erroneously thinks he or she has mouth odour; however, people don’t notice any bad breath. Yet, they are so worried about the odour that it affects their entire lives. It’s all in their heads. Psychological. If I remember correctly, these conditions are called pseudohalitosis and halitophobia. Seeing a doctor might be the only solution for such people because they can’t help but believe that they have bad breaths!

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Dr. 'Malik Haruna King is a practicing Nigerian Medical Doctor and Sex Therapist. He helps people with sensitive health issues find answers to questions they are too ashamed to ask!