Q: Hi Doc, I know you must be busy but this is very scary for me… For two years now I have been experiencing bad breath but recently people around me; in taxis, school, home, church etc complains of perceiving a dead rat even when I am not talking but just breathing from the nose. Please help.
A: This is a very frequent question and so I have decided to revisit it today.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, may be as a result of poor hygiene habits, eating strong smelling foods or could be a sign of other medical conditions.
If adequate dental hygiene is not maintained, food particles can remain in our mouths, encouraging bacterial growth bacteria in our mouths can break down food particles and raise a serious stink. Proper dental hygiene habits includes:
Brushing your teeth twice a day (this sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ but the right technique is important. Mentally divide your mouth into four quadrants and spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant. This way, you spend a minimum of 2 minutes brushing)
Brushing your tongue (if you finish brushing and you can still see all that whitish residue on your tongue, you haven’t done a good job. Some of the smell comes from there. Some tooth brushes come with a tongue scraper at the back of the brush…use that. If not, buy one or just use your brush)
Flossing your teeth everyday. Ask for this in your local super markets. This gets rid of the food particles between your teeth where your tooth brush can’t reach.
Using a mouth wash can also help the prevention of mouth odour.
Eating strong smelling foods like onions and garlic could also cause mouth odour which may not be taken care of by brushing. This is because these ‘foods’ are absorbed into the blood stream and excreted through the lungs. So, the smell will persist until excretion is complete. The small can be masked with mouth wash etc
Disease conditions that can lead to bad breath include mouth infections, Diabetes Mellitus, sinus infection etc.
Other conditions like use of tobacco (chewing or smoking), some drugs and dry mouth (which is the reason for morning breath :D) are also culprits.
Prevention is focused on the tips given above and ensuring that you visit your dentist at least twice a year, brushing at least twice a day (if not after every meal) with a fluoride tooth paste (remember that fluoride is not recommended for children less than 2-3 years and even then, only a pea size is recommended), change your tooth brush once every three months and drink lots of water.
Let’s keep the pearls shining and the breath smelling really fresh.
By the way, would you tell a friend, if he/she had bad breath?
I asked that question during one of my shows and most people didn’t want to be the one that causes offence by telling someone that they have bad breath. However, most people also wanted to be told if they had bad breath. So, who will bell the cat? :d
Did you miss the show? Catch it here and watch me have fun putting OC Ukeje on the hot spot. https://chatwithdrketch.com/2015/05/03/watch-the-dr-ketch-show-episode-on-bad-breath-here/
Have a good evening, y’all 😀