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Bad Breath Needs Dental Aid

Dr Neeraj Verma

Diagnosing causes of bad breath
Before diagnosing the causes of bad breath, occurrence of halitosis should be confirmed as below:

Self diagnosis
Smelling one’s own breath odour is often difficult. However, many people with bad breath are able to detect it in others.
Simplest and most effective way to know whether one has bad breath is to ask a trusted adult family member or very close friend (confidante).

Professional diagnosis

If bad breath is persistent and all other medical and dental factors have been ruled out, specialized testing and treatment is required. Some of several methods for diagnosis are:
1) Halimeter: A portable sulphide monitor used to test for level of sulphur emissions in the breath.
2) Gas chromatography: Portable machine specifically designed to digitally measure the molecular levels of three major sources in sample of mouth air (hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulphide).
3) Bana test: This test is directed to find the salivary levels of an enzyme indicating the presence of certain halitosis selated bacteria.
Home care and treatment for bad breath
  1. Tongue cleaning: Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control that can be achieved using a tongue cleaner or tongue brush to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris and mucus.
  2. Eating healthy breakfast with rough food helps clean the very back of tongue.
  3. Chewing gum: Since dry mouth can increase bacterial build up and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with production of saliva and thereby help to reduce bad breath. Some chewing gums contain special anti-odor ingredients.
  4. Gargling: Right before bedtime, with an effective mouth wash such as chlorhexidine, zinc gluconate chlorine dioxide, is a common method to reduce bad odor. However, one should consult a dentist and use these gargles and mouth washers under the guidance of a qualified dentist.
  5. Maintaining proper oral hygiene: Teeth brushing, flossing, periodic visit to dentist and hygienist. Flossing is important in removing rotting food debris and bacterial plaque from between the teeth. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution.
  6. Maintain water levels in the body by drinking several glasses of water a day.
Dr Neeraj Verma is Senior Consultant – Dental, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.  
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