Tips on how to avoid bad breath - and how to tell a friend they need a mint
SUMMARY: What should you do if you or your friend has stinky breath?
Posted: August 24, 2012
If you think you're the first person who has ever needed an alcohol free mouthwash to get rid of halitosis, you're not even close. Bad breath is certainly not a problem that is limited to the modern world. In fact, it's been around since practically the beginning of time. For example, Independent Online recently reported that even the ancient Romans used slaves to help them clean their mouths so they wouldn't experience halitosis, and the issue has persisted ever since.
The news source added that researchers from the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, recently concluded a study which found that bad breath affects 30 percent of the world population.
"Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. Without regular brushing and flossing, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in the mouth and between the teeth. The sulphur compounds released by these bacteria make the breath smell and, as long as this process continues unchecked, your breath gets worse and worse," said dental surgeon Michael Windisch, quoted by the news source.
Simple and complicated causes of halitosis
Windisch went on to say that bad breath is often caused by foods, particularly ones that contain sulphur compounds such as garlic and onions. However, he added that dry mouth is another common reason that people experience halitosis. There are a number of causes for this problem, and while some are more complicated, such as certain medications and medical conditions, there are also simpler ones like sleeping with your mouth open or using an alcohol-based mouthwash.
Alcohol dries out the mouth, and breath freshening products that use this drying agent as a main ingredient should be avoided at all costs in favor of alcohol free options.
The news source also spoke to oral hygienist Suzette Pirow, who said that people frequently do not know that they have bad breath, and it can be a sensitive issue. She added that not many people have the nerve to tell someone that they have halitosis.
In that vein, CNN published an article in 2011 with tips on how to tell someone they have bad breath. First, try offering them a mint. If they decline, it's all right to gently nudge them and say "I really think you should."
However, if it's someone you're very close to, then just tell them. In the end, they'll thank you.