Treatments for Halitosis
Treatments for halitosis could be as varied as the causes. In spite of a lot of study and research halitosis and all its causes have not been fully understood or labeled treatable. Transient bad breath due to eating certain foods like garlic and onion, hunger, stress etc can be more effectively treated than chronic bad breath. Chronic bad breath could be a sign of long-standing medical conditions of the intestines, respiratory tract, bloodstream etc or a result of poor oral hygiene leading to gum diseases like periodontist as well as due to smoking and tobacco usage. Dry mouth condition known as xerostomia is another major contributor to halitosis.
Odor-causing anaerobic bacteria which are the primary cause of bad breath thrive in conditions poorly oxygenated, acidic environments. This could be remedied by using a hydrogen peroxide and water mix as a mouthwash to increase oxygen and using baking soda with salt as toothpaste to reduce acidity.
Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSC’s) made by anaerobic bacteria can be neutralized to an extent by using toothpaste containing agents such as zinc or chlorine dioxide. Certain toothpaste containing agents such as cetylpyridinium also have antibacterial properties which kill odor-causing bacteria on the tongue.
Many over-the-counter types of mouthwash can be used to Treatments for Halitosis. Some of them are mouthwashes which contain a combination of the following agents.
• Mouthwashes which contain chlorine dioxide which releases oxygen and reduces the count of the anaerobic bacteria thriving in poorly oxygenated conditions. It also reduces the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth making the breath fresher.
• Mouthwashes containing zinc ions which help in reducing the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in a person’s breath.
• Antiseptic mouthwashes like Listerine are supposed to kill anaerobic bacteria without having a direct effect on VSC’s. Antiseptic mouthwashes have a high concentration of alcohol which causes a drying effect on the mouth aggravated conditions causing bad breath and hence not advisable according to many dentists.
• Mouthwashes containing cetlyperadium chloride which is antibacterial and helps in controlling anaerobic bacteria in a person’s mouth.
A more holistic approach to the problem of bad breath believes that the health of the digestive system plays a major role in halitosis and should be cared for by making lifestyle changes like a diet in fresh fruit and vegetables, increased fiber and fluid intake.
Good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing after every meal is very important in fighting halitosis. People with gum diseases should get a treatment plan from their dentist and follow it diligently. Chronic sinusitis which is another factor in bad breath should be treated daily with nasal flushes, neti pots, and saline nasal sprays.
Consider getting your ENT conditions attended to and treated. The secretions of the infections in the passageways are a source of food for the bacteria when they make their way into the posterior region of the mouth. Quit smoking and add a regular Vitamin C supplement to your routine. Vitamin C deficiency may be a factor in causing halitosis.
As there is no particular treatment for halitosis one should look into all the known causes of bad breath without ruling anything out and formulate a plan after discussions with a dentist, doctor or a combination depending on their individual condition.