Bad breath - causes and therapy

Bad breath - causes and therapy

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Bad breath: Not always a sign of poor hygiene
An unpleasant smell in the air we breathe is called bad breath (foetor ex ore). Bad breath is most often due to poor hygiene, especially in dental care and cleaning dentures or other dentures. However, bad breath can also indicate diseases of the oral cavity and upper respiratory tract and can also be signs of a digestive or metabolic disorder. People with bad breath hardly perceive their own breathing air as bad smelling, which is why they have to be made aware of it by their fellow human beings. Since the response to unpleasant body odors can be described as a social taboo zone, countermeasures are often initiated very late.

How does bad breath develop?

Bad breath mainly arises in the oral cavity as a side effect of root canal diseases (periodontitis), inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and oral mucosa (stomatitis), caries, calculus or tongue coating. Not infrequently, a pronounced dentist phobia is hidden behind the symptom, which prevents proper maintenance of the dentition. If the teeth and oral cavity are not adequately cleaned, the dental fillings have loosened and bridges and crowns are not sitting properly or are not being cared for, the food residues that settle there provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. These decompose the food residues, causing putrefaction with gas formation.

Other causes of bad breath

Other causes of malodorous air can be found in respiratory diseases, e.g. as a sore throat (angina tonsillaris), sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia. A strong foul smell with cough and a lot of purulent sputum occurs in a lung abscess or bronchiectasis. A sweet smell with a sore throat and difficulty swallowing can occur with diphtheria, an Epstein-Barr virus infection or Pfeiffer glandular fever (mononucleosis), Plaut Vincent angina and agranulocytosis.

Irritable stomach, excess acid or lack of acid

An irritated stomach or an inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) with excess acid or acid deficiency can also be the cause. Diabetes mellitus can be associated with acetone-like bad breath, kidney failure with urine odor. If the liver is severely damaged, e.g. with cirrhosis of the liver, the air we breathe smells of ammonia.

Therapy and self-help for bad breath

If a certain disease is the reason for bad breath, targeted therapy usually improves quickly. Since tooth problems are often the cause, sufferers should consult their dentist in this case, otherwise it is advisable to consult their family doctor first. For example, If there is a disease in the mouth, nose and throat, the treatment is then usually carried out by the ear, nose and throat doctor, whereas diseases of the digestive system are usually taken care of by a specialist in internal medicine (gastroenterologist) who specializes in gastrointestinal diseases. .

In addition, thorough oral hygiene is essential. This relieves bad breath and helps prevent new bad smells caused by bacteria and germs in the mouth and throat. The important measures include e.g. brushing your teeth daily in the morning and evening for at least three minutes each, and changing the toothbrushes regularly as soon as the bristles stick out or show permanent discoloration. When cleaning, it is important to think about the interdental spaces and to clean them daily with an interdental brush or dental floss.

Mouthwashes offer relief from an acute inflammation in the mouth - however, these should only be used for a short period of time in order not to upset the natural oral flora. In order to be able to successfully treat or prevent bad breath, the annual check-up with the dentist should also be taken to remove tartar and plaque and have professional teeth cleaning performed if necessary.

Home remedies for bad breath

A number of natural home remedies for bad breath are available for self-treatment. Mouthwashes with apple cider vinegar or sage tea are recommended, for example, myrrh tincture has a very positive effect on the oral mucosa due to its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. A proven home remedy from the Orient for bad breath is fresh mint leaves, which are harvested individually and then sucked and chewed in the mouth. The popular peppermint candies, on the other hand, usually only help for a short time and also often contain a lot of sugar, which in turn can have a negative effect on the oral flora. It is therefore more useful and helpful e.g. chewing coffee beans, fennel seeds, fresh parsley or thyme.

The so-called "pulling oil" is now often used for bad breath. It is a simple and at the same time very effective method, which can also be used very successfully as a home remedy for toothache, for tongue fungus or herpes in the mouth, for example. Cold-pressed sesame or sunflower oil is best suited for this. About a teaspoon of this is moved back and forth in the mouth for several minutes before brushing the teeth and pressed through the teeth. Afterwards, the mixture must be spit out so that the toxins bound by the oil do not remain in the body and can cause further damage there. (jvs, nr)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Jeanette Viñals Stein, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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Video: Bad breath - How to prevent or treat it? (December 2022).