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Monday, November 14, 2005

Halitosis and Medications - Bad Breath Killers or Creators?

To understand what the link between halitosis and medications is, we really need to have a clearer understanding of what the causes of bad breath really are?

Bad breath is caused by a bacteria that lives in the mouth in the throat or in the tongue. These bacteria are not harmful in themselves, and are meant to be there in the mouth. There role is to help break down proteins that have found their way into the oral cavity. If these proteins contain sulphur, then bad breath, or halitosis can result.

So, from this it can be taken that the cause of bad breath can be found in what we take on board rather than a condition or illness that we we have developed.

So, what has this to do with halitosis and medications?

There are a number of substances that are known to make bad breath worse. Two of these are sugar (for sugar read sugars and sweeteners) and alcohol. Alcohol (as most of us know) actually dries out the mouth. You will, I am sure, know that alcohol dehydrates you, and this has an effect on the mouth as well. And when the mouth is dry, bad breath gets worse. Saliva helps oxygenate your mouth, and lack of oxygen helps promote bad breath.

The sugars themselves help feed the bacteria, which act more effectively in breaking down the sulphur in the proteins in the mouth, so in fact, they make the mouth more efficient in producing bad breath.

So, if the medications that you take contain alcohol, sugar or sweeteners, then you could be making your halitosis worse rather than better!

If we look back at the first point we made, we know that bad breath originates in the proteins that we take on board. So, it stands to reason that if you cut down on sulphur bearing proteins, then you will have a positive effect on bad breath. Dairy products (milk and cheese for example) are one type of food that can cause bad breath. Excess coffee is another.

Regular cleaning and flossing can also go a long way to helping reduce bad breath as can taking adequate quantities of water as well.

Personal Health Advice is a web site devoted to personal helath problems, their causes and their cures. Find out more about halitosis here.

by Charlie Cory


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