Nose, ear infections can cause mouth odour –Dentists

Dental care experts have said that preventing and treating mouth odour can go beyond brushing the teeth twice daily, noting that some ear and nose infections can cause the condition that is referred to as halitosis.

Halitosis is an oral health problem where the main symptom is bad-smelling breath.

The experts also stated that some foods could cause halitosis and urged Nigerians to be careful with what they eat.

While noting that wrong brushing techniques of teeth in addition to the neglect of the tongue could also lead to bad breath, the experts advised Nigerians to embrace the habit of visiting the dentist once in six months for scaling of the teeth.

They stressed that there was a limit to what the toothbrushes could do, noting that scaling is necessary.

Speaking with our correspondent, the experts, Consulting Dentist with Yanga Dental Clinic, Dr. Abraham Akinbami and the Founder and Executive Director of Dentalcare Foundation, Dr. Adekemi Adeniyan said it had become necessary to address the root causes of halitosis.

Halitosis, they said, could be embarrassing for the sufferer and may lead to low self-esteem.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Akinbami said: “The cause of halitosis is not straightforward. Mouth odour can be from outside the mouth and inside the mouth. If it’s inside the mouth, it can be from the accumulation of dirt and plaque calculus bacteria in the mouth. Then outside the mouth, it can be from the food someone takes, such as garlic, and onions then for some people that have gastric/stomach ulcers, it can cause mouth odour sometimes.

“Then if someone has a nose or ear infection, it can cause mouth odour, sometimes we tell them to see the ENT doctors after they must have come to us and we couldn’t give them the solution. Another thing is that when people don’t brush well, they can have halitosis. Another thing is that during fasting, people tend to have bad breath as well”.

Also speaking with our correspondent, Dr. Adeniyan said: “When talking about the causes of mouth odour, we look at the external and internal causes.

“The internal causes could be as a result of a certain disease. It could also be a result of maybe tooth decay in the mouth, maybe a hole in the tooth that has not been treated for a long time, or someone with systemic conditions such as ulcers and even diabetes. All these can cause mouth odour.

“And of course, there are also external reasons such as not brushing properly, not taking care of the mouth as you should, not flossing, not brushing using the right techniques, the kind of food consumed also matters, like people who take garlic and onion a lot”.

He, however, noted that it is possible to have mouth odour even after brushing twice a day because there are places the toothbrushes cannot get to in the mouth.

“There are places your dental floss may not be able to get to in your mouth and when food accumulates in those places, bacteria start living there for a long period and these accumulations get stuck in your teeth and they end up smelling over a long period. That’s why it’s good to visit the dentist every six months so that you’ll be able to find these bacteria and get rid of them.

“Also, if your mouth odour is coming from a disease like ulcer or diabetes, treating them is what gets rid of the mouth odour because no matter how much you brush and take care of your mouth, you’ll not get rid of odour if you don’t treat it.

“The best way to brush your teeth is by brushing lightly not brushing hard. The majority of us have this school of thought that the harder we brush, the better it is for our teeth and the easier it is for us to get rid of mouth odour. So, You’ll see people buying these hard toothbrushes because of that but It is not so.

“Just getting the right techniques because there are different techniques. But usually I just tell people that, half open the mouth, then put your toothbrush at 45 degrees angle, take a stroke up and down, take it section by section, from the upper part to the lower part, section the movement from the right to the left, and do not forget the tongue. Many of us brush our teeth and forget the tongue, meanwhile, accumulation on the tongue can also cause mouth odour,” he said.

He also urged Nigerians to brush in a circular motion, brush the tongue, and massage the gum.

“I mostly advise people to go to the dentist for the proper lesson on how to brush their teeth or make use of some online videos, to have a pictorial and do it right.

“I’ll say mouthwashes mask mouth odour, comparable to someone who has mouth odour and is using perfume on it. It masks it. What gets rid of mouth odour is brushing your teeth properly. Some mouthwash can even amplify the mouth odour because some mouthwash contains alcohol or some contents that are not friendly to the mouth and people buy these without knowing which is good and at the end of the day it will worsen the case. So while it’s a good thing to add mouthwash to your oral hygiene, it doesn’t always get rid of mouth odour.

“The best way to eliminate mouth odour is to take care of your tooth properly, prevention is always better than cure. 99 per cent of mouth odour are caused by bad oral hygiene. Also visiting your dentist every six months is very crucial so they can help you remove what your toothbrush or floss cannot remove. If you also have any issues with your teeth, they can be fixed immediately,” he said.

According to an online study published by John Hopkins University, mouth odour is often a lack of proper oral hygiene. The study also noted that the consumption of certain types of foods, the use of tobacco, improper cleaning of dentures etc can cause mouth odour. It recommended brushing the teeth and tongue twice daily, quitting smoking, visiting the dentist at least bi-annually to curb mouth odour.

Another study published by Medical News Today said that mouth odour affects about 25 per cent of people and put the most common cause as poor oral hygiene.

The solutions to it, it said, include keeping the mouth hydrated, and the use of toothpaste or mouthwash with an antibacterial agent.


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