Seun Akintayo was a fine, tall and handsome gentleman by many ladies’ standards. He was not just good looking; he was also doing well in his career. At the age of 35, he was already a senior partner at the accounting firm where he worked.
As dashing as he looked, it was difficult to get a lady that would stay in a relationship with him for more than a year. They usually opted without giving him a reason. But one of them did him a favour before she dumped him. She said she could no longer withstand his breath.
According to her, his breath smelt as if like a rotten organism Harsh isn’t?
Akintayo decided to ask his best friend if his ex-girlfriend was just being nasty or truthful. He got the home truth from his b0s0m friend. He had bad breath, a medical condition known as halitosis.
Halitosis can be embarrassing and downright offensive. It is also sad that most people who suffer this condition do not know until occurrences such as Akintayo’s happen.
Consultant Dentist, Dr. Yemi Adelaja, says that halitosis, a common condition caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat, can be a symptom of some dental infections or the result of poor oral hygiene over the years.
Adelaja explains that when bacteria build up in the cavities of the mouth and gums, they form plaque that can irritate the gums. He adds that these germs eventually become plaque-filled pockets between the teeth and gums and start emitting odour.
He notes that uneven surface of the tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odour, while dentures (teeth) that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbour food particles and odour-causing bacteria.
Simply put, poor oral hygiene such as not brushing your kid’s mouth twice daily, not cleaning the tongue with a soft bristle brush or not flossing to remove food particles from the cavities around the teeth before they become plaque over the years can predispose you to halitosis.
Dental surgeon, Dr. Temilola Banjo, states that not all people with bad breath have poor oral hygiene. According to the specialist, having a dry mouth – that is, not enough saliva in the mouth, can also cause halitosis.
She says, “Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that may cause bad odour. A condition called dry mouth can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased.
“The reason many people experience bad breath in the morning is because the saliva production at night decreases, leading to “morning breath,” and is made worse if you sleep with your mouth open. It is people who suffer from chronic dry mouth that have bad breath, even after cleaning their mouth in the morning.
“Since you may not even know that you have bad breath, this is a symptom to watch for and if you have it, ask people to sincerely tell you if your breath smells, so you can quickly treat it. There are medications that will boost your salivary glands if that is the reason for your bad breath.”
Banjo, however, notes that eating certain foods can also cause bad breath. She says foods such as onion, garlic, and other vegetables and spices emit foul odour after they have been broken down or when some particles are stuck in-between the teeth and the gums.
Banjo states, “When you eat foods that have lots of onion and garlic, you can experience bad breath some hours after because once they are digested, they are carried into the bloodstream, then the lungs and you breathe them out. It’s usually a foul odour that comes out. This is the mild one because it lasts for just few hours.
“You should also avoid sugary foods and acidic drinks. These are bad both for your breath and for the health of your teeth, as acidic drinks can hurt the enamel on your teeth. Avoid fizzy drinks as much as possible and if you have to drink them, make sure to drink them quickly without holding them in your mouth.
“Coffee and alcohol too may cause bad breath. Both of these drinks provide an environment in your mouth for bacteria growth, which causes bad breath. They also dry out your mouth, which causes the bacteria to linger. Smoking can cause bad breath because naturally, they leave unpleasant mouth odour.”
Adelaja quickly adds that bad breath can be a symptom of an underlying illness. He explains that halitosis may be a sign that something has gone wrong with the kidneys and some metabolic processes in the body.
According to him, some cancers and chronic gastro-intestinal disorders can cause a distinctive breath odour as a result of chemicals they produce.
This is the reason why the experts advise that people who suffer from halitosis see a doctor who will either erase or confirm all doubts. One thing is sure, bad breath is a reason for any smoker to quit today!