Mrs. Madhavee (name changed) works as a HR Manager in one of the companies in Jubilee Hills Road no.36, Hyderabad. A visit to the dentist was on her mind for quite some time, but the hectic schedule at work, made this a second priority for long. Finally, she could make some time and visit our clinic – Dentist & Dontist.
Madhavee came to know about the clinic, by finding our clinic on Google. Impressed by the patient reviews and the clinic pictures, she decided to walk in. She had no difficulty finding the clinic, as she says it, “It’s pretty hard not to notice this clinic while passing by this road! (road no.36, Jubilee Hills)”. Even though she lives far away, as the clinic is near to her office, she took a quick break from work and walked in to the clinic.
After the usual formalities at the reception, she met our dentist. Madhavee hesitated a bit before saying, “I have the problem of bad breath. I brush my teeth regularly but !1 still the problem exists”. She added, “It was really embarrassing moment for me when my junior at work brought this to my notice.”
Diagnosis of Bad Breath
Bad breath is one of the most common oral conditions, also known as Oral Malodour or
Halitosis in medical jargon. Bad breath can have many causes. We wanted to identify the root cause before proceeding to the normal teeth cleaning process. Asthma patients often experience bad breath. Periodontal disease may led to bleeding gums and this is also a major cause for bad breath. We also asked Madhavee if she had any teeth pain. Madhavee told that she had none of these problems but just bad breath.
On oral examination, We found found plaque built up on her teeth. The last time she visited a dentist was before 6 months.
Bad breath is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene.
“Wait, I brush everyday!” So does everybody! And still, bad breath continues to feature among the list of top-10 dental problems.
Oral malodour or bad breath when we wake up from bed is not considered as Halitosis. Because, the prime cause for bad breath is bacteria build-up in the mouth during the previous night. Since, 6-8 hours (of sleep) is good enough time for the bacteria to grow in the mouth thriving on the food particles stuck between the teeth, we may experience bad breath when we wake up in the morning. When we brush our teeth properly in the morning, most of the bad breath causing bacteria is eliminated from the mouth. You might have had advice from your dentist to brush your teeth before you go to bed because the bacteria thrives on the left over food particles in the mouth and hence brushing teeth is the most efficient way to avoid malodour causing bacteria during sleep.
Treating Bad Breath (Oral Prophylaxis)
Oral Prophylaxis is done to remove tartar and plaque that was formed on the teeth, inside and out. The bacteria thrives on this and causes bad odour in the mouth. As a part of Oral Prophylaxis, we did scaling to remove visible deposits of plaque and tartar. Further, teeth polishing was done to make the removal 100%. Maintaining the health of teeth after scaling is also important to avoid recurrence of the problem. So, we also gave proper oral hygiene instructions to Madhavee.
Watch the below video to see the animation of the whole process of Oral Prophylaxis.
Madhavee was happy for the results! Now, she does not have to shy away from laughing out loud in the office and at home!
Other causes for bad breath
If you are experiencing bad breath, apart from poor oral hygiene, it could be due to a several other possible reasons.
Periodontal Disease / Gum Disease: Many people experience mild bleeding in the gums at least during brushing. While this is no alarming, chronic bleeding may indicate the underlying problem with gums and can cause bad breath.
Smoking / Tobacco: It’s not just the pungent odour of tobacco that lingers to you for a while after you smoke. There’s more to it. The impact of Tobacco on oral health (bad breath) includes increase of the temperature inside the mouth causing dry mouth or xerostomia and damage to the soft tissue and the bone that supports teeth – periodontitis
Diabetes: In diabetes, the insulin production becomes low and the body starts burning more fat and producing ketones (ketosis). The ketones are normally eliminated from the body by kidneys and lungs. When lungs try to get rid of ketones, you experience a mild fruity odour known as keto-breath.
Acute Sinusitis: In this condition, cavities around nasal passages are swollen due to bacterial infection. This causes mucus to build up in your nose causing bad breath. If this is the case, then it could be a more complicated issue like Meningitis. You need to visit a dentist immediately to diagnose the root cause.
Acid Reflux: Studies have shown that GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) causes frequent halitosis in patients.
Medication: Certain drugs like cysteamine, when metabolized turn into compounds that can smell bad. [Study]. Some other drugs like penicillamine degrades to raise the Ph levels and results in growth of bacteria in the mouth, leading to bad breath.
Bad Breath Prevention
The most common cause for Halitosis is poor oral hygiene.
1. Brushing your teeth twice a day, in the morning as well as before bedtime, is the most important thing to do. While everyone does brushing, it is important to know the tooth brush moves that help you clean the teeth efficiently. Just moving the tooth brush horizontally across your teeth does no good. Watch the below video to understand the proper brushing technique.
2. Tooth brush can only reach to certain parts of the mouth to clean the food particles accumulated inside. Here, you also need to floss your teeth. If you have never done flossing before, watch the below video to learn the flossing technique:
3. Tongue cleaning is the most ignored oral hygiene techniques yet important to follow to avoid halitosis. Include this important routine in your brushing regime and you will be amazed at all the benefits of tongue cleaning, including reduction in plaque formation on teeth. If you are not comfortable with a tongue scraper, then you can clean your tongue with your tooth brush too. Watch this video on how to clean the tongue with a tooth brush.
Like Madhavee, visiting a dentist might be on your mind for a long time. But you can always spend a couple of hours to take care of your Oral conditions and enjoy quality life.
About the author: A wife, mother of two super-cute kids, gold medalist in orthodontics, award winning dentist, life coach, experienced yoga trainer and recognised social activist – Dr. Mani Pavitra is the Chief Orthodontist at Dentist n Dentist clinic. Follow Dr. Mani Pavitra on LinkedIn and FaceBook to receive more updates.