Bad Breath or halitosis has plagued humankind for centuries.
The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that more than 80 million people in America suffer from chronic bad breath. In most cases bad breath originates in the mouth from the teeth, gums and tongue.
It is often caused by food particles caught between the teeth or on the tongue tat are not removed by cleaning your teeth properly.
It can also be caused by tooth decay, gum disease and various medical conditions.
Eating spicy foods and ingredients that have odors such as garlic can also cause bad breath.
Most bad breath is caused by the various waste products (sulphur based compounds) produced by bacteria in the mouth that break down food particles left in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene and diet.
Some people are more likely to have bad breath than others and it can be triggered by stress, snoring, dieting, old-age and various hormonal changes.
This article reviews the causes of bad breath and the methods you can use to tell if you have bad breath.
It also reviews the various ways you can use to prevent bad breath and the various natural home remedies available for curing it.
One peculiarly thing about bad breath is that you can't smell it yourself and so you my be totally unaware of it, unless someone else tells you about it.
Your body becomes acclimated (gets used to) and you cannot detect it even when you breathe into your hand and smell your own breath.
So how can you reliably know if you have bad breath?
The best way is to ask an understanding friend or relative about it. But there are a number of self testing methods that do work:
The Cotton Wipe Test - Wipe a piece of cotton gauze over the upper surface of your tongue and smell it. This is probably the best way to find out what people nearby are smelling.
The 'Lick to Back of Your Hand' Test - Simply lick the back of your hand with the upper surface of your tongue. Let the saliva on your hand dry for about 10 seconds and then smell it. If there is an odor, you may have bad breath because some of the sulfur compounds causing bad breath on your tongue have been transferred to your hand.
The Dental Floss Test for Tooth Derived Odors - Run a section of dental floss through the gaps in your back teeth. This will be where food particles such as slivers of meat may have been lodged and have stated to break down causing odors. Smell the floss for any signs of odors people nearby maybe smelling.
The Tongue in the Mirror Test - Get in front of a mirror and poke your tongue out as far as you can. If the upper back part of your tongue is whitish or yellowish, this may be a sign that these deposits on your tongue may be causing bad breath.
The 'How do People React You' Test - Observe the reaction of people nearby when you get close to them. If people obviously are moving away and pulling faces you probably have bas breath.
Some dentists have a Halimeter, which is an instrument that measures the amount of sulfide compounds in a person's saliva and breath - The recommended threshold for bad breath is when the sulphide level exceeds about 80 parts per billion.
The best prevention strategy is to pay special attention to your oral hygiene with focusing on thoroughly brushing, flossing, and cleaning your teeth gums and tongue. Oral hygiene helps stop the build-up of bacteria on the tongue, gums and teeth and removes the food particles that they feed upon. See your dentist regularly for a professional teeth clean and to address any tooth decay which may trigger bad breath.
Change your diet to avoid foods that can trigger bad breath such as garlic and many spices. It is obvious that smoking and tobacco can lead to bad breath.