One of the questions our patients often ask us is “Bad breath”. Although my teacher brushes my teeth, my bad breath does not go away.” We have often encountered statements such as.
Bad breath is an unpleasant odor caused by some bacteria combined with food residues in the mouth. This odor is often caused by intraoral causes, rarely as a result of systemic disorders or dry mouth, which is a side effect of some medications. This odor is particularly noticeable in the morning, but in healthy individuals, it improves after oral care. If this odor persists despite oral care, it is useful to consult a dentist for differential diagnosis.
CAUSES OF BAD BREATH
Foul-smelling compounds are formed as a result of the interaction of food residues that cannot be cleaned well in the mouth with bacteria in the mouth.
Conditions such as foci of infection in the mouth, poorly made dentures, broken or cracked restorations, caries, tartar, gingivitis also cause bad breath.
Saliva plays a very important role in cleaning and washing the mouth. A decrease in the amount of saliva in the mouth causes bad breath as it reduces the ability to wash the mouth. In this case, some medications used for systemic disorders (antihypertensives, antidepressants…) can cause dry mouth and indirectly cause bad breath.
Certain foods we eat (onions, garlic, meat, fish, cheese, etc.) can cause bad breath. A high protein diet can also cause bad breath. This odor will persist until these foods are eliminated from the body.
Similarly, tobacco products and alcohol also cause bad breath.
Some diseases play a role in the emergence of bad breath, albeit to a lesser extent. Diabetes, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, digestive system disorders, liver and kidney system diseases can be included in this category. These diseases secrete different odors. For example, the distinct acetone odor in the mouth in diabetes…
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO ELIMINATE BAD BREATH?
- First of all, the differential diagnosis of whether bad breath is caused by an intraoral cause should be made by a dentist.
- Necessary treatments should be made for cavities, bleeding gums, poorly made prostheses and tartar should be eliminated.
- Oral hygiene education should be provided, this education should be fully established, teeth should be brushed regularly and interface care should be performed.
- Bacteria in the mouth, especially in the crevices on the tongue, can often live in recessed and protruding areas. Bacteria can cause bad breath by feeding on food residues accumulated in these areas. For this reason, brushing the tongue is very important in eliminating bad breath. Specific tongue brushes can be used for this purpose. For the elimination of bacteria living on the tongue, ozone therapy treatment applied on the tongue also offers supportive treatment.
- Chewing sugar-free chewing gum contributes to the oral rinsing process as it accelerates the flow of saliva.
- If all these suggestions are followed but there is no change in the person’s bad breath, then the bad breath may be caused by the gastrointestinal system, in which case the person should be referred to an internal medicine specialist.
TONGUE HYGIENE AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Did you know that your tongue helps you speak, eat, swallow and taste your food? We probably don’t think about the importance and function of our tongue in everyday life.
INTERESTING LANGUAGE FACTS
Of all the muscles in the human body, the tongue is the strongest for its size and the only one that is attached at one end. It is also the only muscle in the body that works without any support from the skeleton. The mouth typically has about 700 species of bacteria, the majority of which collect on the surface of the tongue. Our tongue goes to work quickly to ‘sweep’ after eating to try, check and remove any food that may be stuck around the teeth. The cleaning of this organ with such an important function should also be done very precisely. As we mentioned, the tongue is a muscle. It is covered with a moist coating known as mucous membrane and has millions of tiny projections called papillae. These papillae give the tongue its rough texture and some of these papillae contain taste buds that allow us to taste food and drinks. This rough surface can collect bits of food and, of course, millions of bacteria or microorganisms called flora. Just like your fingerprint, tongue flora is different for every person.
Cleaning your tongue can reduce the amount of bacteria on the tongue. Research suggests that tongue cleaning can improve oral freshness as well as gum and dental health. Investigations of patients with bad breath have found that it can originate from other parts of the body, including the lungs, nose, oral teeth and tongue. In the majority of patients, the complaint is reduced or completely resolved after scaling and professional tongue cleaning.
WHY IS TONGUE CLEANING IMPORTANT?
Cleaning the tongue is as important as brushing your teeth. However, it is neglected by many people and its necessity is not known. If the tongue is not cleaned regularly, it causes some health problems. Failure to clean the tongue causes the bacteria accumulated on the tongue not to be removed from the mouth and the bacteria multiply over time. As a result, these bacteria can spread to the teeth and cause serious problems such as inflammation of the gums, tooth loss and miscarriages during pregnancy. Lack of regular tongue cleaning can cause discoloration of the tongue. This is because food and drink particles accumulated on the tongue are not cleaned and cause stains on the tongue. Over time, this can cause the tongue to darken and look hairy, causing you to have aesthetic concerns.
THE BENEFITS OF TONGUE CLEANING ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Helps eliminate bacteria or other problems that cause bad breath. It prevents the gradual growth and spread of bacteria accumulated on the surface of the tongue. In this way, it prevents discomfort in the mouth and teeth. It also helps to protect general health by preventing the occurrence of some diseases. When tongue cleaning is done regularly, oral and dental hygiene can be fully ensured. In this way, you can have healthy and long-lasting teeth and fresh breath.
HOW TO CLEAN THE TONGUE?
If you like the feeling of cleaning your tongue or if you decide to clean your tongue, you should be very gentle because the tongue surface is very sensitive! Our toothbrush can be used for this task, provided it has a soft bristle, but other tools such as a tongue scraper can also be used. Start gently at the back of the tongue, pull or brush forward and use water to lubricate the process so that the brush does not irritate your tongue surface. Professionally, you should have your tongue cleaned periodically by your dentist in a clinical setting with special vacuum devices. Then, in addition to regular tooth brushing every day, you should do your tongue cleaning as described above.
BENEFITS OF VACUUM TONGUE CLEANING;
Deep cleaning of the tongue by vacuuming the bacterial plaque formed on the tongue
Removal of bacterial tongue plaque from the oral cavity
Extraordinary feeling of freshness after treatment
Reduced gag reflex compared to conventional methods
It cleans without irritation or trauma to the tongue papillae, as with tongue scrapers or rotary brushes.
FINALLY, BASIC TIPS TO KEEP YOUR WHOLE MOUTH HEALTHY:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride,
- Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental brushes,
- Drink plenty of water,
- Stop smoking,
- Limit sugary foods and drinks and
- Visit your dentist regularly for a general dental check-up, scaling, professional tongue cleaning and personalized oral health advice. All of these tips are evidence-based and proven to be effective in maintaining optimal oral health!