Thursday, September 25, 2008

5 Ways to Tell If You Have Bad Breath

Nearly one-third of us suffer from bad breath. Even though you might be one of them, chances are your family, close friends and even your spouse will never let on. But what is too embarrassing for them to tell you could leave you at a real disadvantage. After all, if you don't know you have bad breath, how can you solve this very common hygiene problem?

Dr. Geoffrey Speiser comes to the rescue! This expert on halitosis and the founder of the Australian Breath Clinic, has devised a personal breath checklist to help you determine if you're suffering from bad breath, reports News.com.

Ask yourself these five questions and be brutally honest in your answers:

1. Do you practice good oral hygiene yet never really feel fresh?
Bad breath isn't caused by the onions you ate for lunch. Rather, it's an imbalance in the bacteria lining the mouth, tongue, throat and nasal passages. Even people who have sparkling clean mouths and are in good health can be afflicted with halitosis. Essentially, bad breath is an infection of the oral cavity, and odor is the only clinical sign.

2. Do you often feel unsure about your breath?
Try to smell your own breath. Can't do it? Then pay attention when you are around other people for negative reactions through nonverbal cues. If they back away or put a hand to their face, covering their nose, you need to take action.

3. Do others give you lots of space?
Halitosis is comprised of three gases: hydrogen sulphide, which is a lot like the smell of rotten eggs; methyl mercaptan, which resembles the smell of feces; and dimethyl sulphide, which can smell like cabbage or gasoline. If your mouth is emitting these gases, people will turn away or step back quickly as soon as you open your mouth.

4. Do you frequently have a dry mouth or feel as if your tongue is coated?
Almost all cases of bad breath are caused by a protein breakdown by undesirable bacteria that live on the back of the tongue. The byproducts of this protein breakdown produce those foul smelling gases, and that makes your breath smell foul.

5. Do you take medication for chronic illnesses?
When the natural balance of the mouth changes, bad breath can result. This is especially common for those who suffer from a chronic illness or take medications for high blood pressure, indigestion and allergies.

(Source: Dr. Geoffrey Speiser, Australian Breath Clinic)

If you suspect you have bad breath that can't be cured by brushing your teeth and using mouthwash, it's time to call your dentist for a professional consultation.
--From the Editors at Netscape