What’s the worse thing that can be said to someone?
“Your mouth has a bad odour.”
Especially when the person says it in a crowded area.
It becomes embarrassing when someone makes fun of it and accuses you of not brushing your teeth. This is why you need to know the preventive measures so that you can avoid any form of embarrassment.
I have good news. Whatever the cause of the bad breath, you can avoid, prevent, treat, and eliminate it without visiting a doctor.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The mouth is an organ in the digestive system where bacterias are ever-present, and this is one of the few sources that breeds bad breath.
Medically known as halitosis (a foul odour in the mouth), bad breath is one of the most common oral health problems among Nigerians today. Although it is not a medical emergency, about 14.5% of the Nigerian population suffers from this oral problem.
Just as there are many bacteria in the mouth, bad breath can be caused by certain things ranging from poor oral hygiene to periodontal diseases, other underlying diseases like diabetes and other respiratory infections, certain foods, improper cleaning of dental appliances, xerostomia (dry mouth), and intake of tobacco products.
From the causes that emerge from an underlying condition to those that arise from lack of proper care, bad breath can be treated and prevented.
Preventive Measures for Bad Breath
You can prevent bad breath (halitosis) in the following ways:
Maintain great oral hygiene
This is one of the main superpowers to help prevent bad breath, but many people ignore it. It is crucial to maintain great oral hygiene to help reduce odour-causing bacteria in your mouth. This will also prevent oral diseases like cavities, gum diseases, and bacteria that cause plague. You should brush and floss at least twice daily to avoid bad breath.
If you can’t brush right after a meal, flossing, drinking fluids, and rinsing can help cleanse your mouth of any bacteria before they cause problems. Water is ideal and the best in this case. Do not leave your mouth dry (medical term; Xerostomia) to experience foul breath due to lack of saliva. Stay clear from soda or other sugar-containing liquids.
They do not help to rinse or floss. Instead, they mix with whatever leftovers you have in your mouth to enhance bad breath.
Watch what you eat
Everything you consume absorbs in the bloodstream to reappear when you speak and breathe. Ingredients like onion, garlic, and other spicy food are some offenders here, and their larger use can cause bad breath if you do not pay attention.
Instead, consume more foods like vegetables, carrots, and parsley. Their high water content will help flush your mouth of debris or remnants in the mouth.
Quit smoking and alcohol consumption
Smoking is one of the easiest ways to get an unpleasant odour in the mouth. It reduces saliva production, which eventually leads to a dry mouth. As a result, smokers are prone to developing gum disease, which is a source of bad breath.
Read Also: 10 Unhealthy Habits Nigerians Practice Unaware
Some medications can contribute to your mouth being dry, resulting in bad breath. Certain vitamin supplements (especially in high doses) are convicts and other sedatives. Be sure to check your medication (if you’re on any) for any ingredient that may cause bad breath.
Get routine dental checkups
Undoubtedly, excellent health care can be expensive here in Nigeria, but it’s best to try to give it all it takes to avoid certain health conditions. If not every time, a 6- month dental checkup will help you detect plagues and identify any oral problems earlier.
Your dentist will be able to identify and answer questions about dry mouth, flossing, preferred mouthwash or paste, things you eat that may lead to bad breath, and how to avoid them in every way possible.
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Use a mouthwash
Brands like the Listerine Mouth Wash, TheraBreath Oral Rinse, and ACT Anticavity Fluoride Rinse can save you and offer more protection for your mouth. The fresh minty taste and feel can give your mouth a great smell and kill germs that cause bad breath.
Get a tongue scraper
On how to avoid bad breath, getting a tongue scraper can be one of the best decisions. From time to time, you will have coatings on your tongue due to the food you eat, drinks, and other substances you take. If care is not taken, this coating can double and become home to bacteria.
Hence, the need to scrape them off every day as they appear. You may achieve this with your brush while brushing your teeth, but it is healthier to use a tongue scraper.
Read Also: Habits to Practice to Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle in Nigeria
Candy, mints, and gum
This can be a temporary solution. Candy and Mints only do the job of masking the mouth’s odour. When you are out at work or about the day’s activities, these can help, but they are no substitute for a clean mouth. You may or will still have to brush or floss your mouth right after properly.
Clean denture/dental appliances
If you wear a denture (false teeth), a bridge, or braces, you have to clean them thoroughly every day. Use mouthguards or retainers? Make sure you clean them before you put them in your mouth. Also, ensure you have the best cleaning product recommended by your dentist for effective and proper cleaning of the appliances from time to time.
Read Also: Morning Routines to Start a Healthy Day
How to Politely Tell Someone They Have Bad Breath
Having to tell someone they have bad breath can be difficult for some people. Other people can be blunt with it, they see nothing wrong in coming direct. If you find yourself in a situation to tell someone they have bad breath, it is important to be sensitive and polite when dealing with the victim, knowing that this can happen to anyone. So how do you go about it?
It all starts with choosing a gentle approach, being honest and straightforward, understanding and not taking things personally, offering a solution, and following up. It is that simple.
- Offer them a chewing gum: You can tell them they have bad breath by offering them a chewing gum especially a menthol gum like Orbit. You can also join them in chewing it. Once you do this, they can get the message and start working towards finding a solution.
- You can find a private space to tell them. You can ask for their permission to share something with them. For example; “Can I speak to you in camera? I would love to talk to you about something a little uncomfortable.” Then, you can tell them the situation.
- You can start a conversation about hygiene. When you ask questions about their personal hygiene, you can ask them how often they brush their teeth, what foods they eat, etc. Then, you can educate them on mouth hygiene to avoid bad breath.
This can seem difficult but you have to help them because they may not be aware. One thing you shouldn’t do is gossip about the situation, we should be kind to people.
Bad breath can be embarrassing, and you can avoid it. It does more to you as the victim than to other people. Some may not know how to politely tell someone they have bad breath, especially in Nigeria.
No one is immune to the stigma it causes, especially in a social atmosphere. This is why it is important to prevent it. So, preventing it at all costs to avoid anxiety, low self-esteem, and dangerous oral wellness is one thing we should be particular about. Aside from the fact that it may come naturally for some people (at least 1 of 5 persons in Nigeria), it can be prevented. Be intentional about your oral wellness today, just like every part of your body.
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Oluwapelumi is a young, vibrant, and experienced creative content writer, product designer, freelancer and diplomat.
She’s passionate about words, and their usage to make utmost meaning to every audience. She’s an author of several blog posts and articles in the Personal Development, Business, Health, and Travel fields on Medium and a devoted lover of God.
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