Bad breath, medically known as halitosis is an embarrassing problem. It is embarrassing to the person who has the problem and those around them like friends, family and colleagues who may find it difficult to approach them about their problem.
Odd reactions from people around you may tip you off that you may have halitosis. If you suspect so, it is advisable to take measures to take care of the problem right away.
Why use a halimeter ?
A halimeter is a small machine that is used to take a reading of your breath. It resembles the desktop breath analyzer machines used by police officers. It was first invented in the 1970s to measure the level of pollutant volatile sulfur in the air. It was later developed for oral use. You will blow into a special tube and the machine will indicate the enzymes and chemicals that are in your breath. You then keep using the halimeter regularly at the dentist's office to monitor the levels of these enzymes and chemicals while continuing with measures to remedy the problem.
What causes halitosis
Halitosis is most commonly caused by three chemicals; dimethyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan. When you find out which ones are giving you bad breath, you have a better chance of getting rid of the problem for good.
Working with the dentist
It is advisable to work on the problem of bad breath with a dentist. In addition to administering a breath test with the halimeter, they will also give you a complete dental exam and note down your health history. Doing so may unearth other causes of the problem such as a decaying tooth that needs to be removed, a cavity, gum disease or an abscess.
With the check-up and your health history, the dentist may unearth other causes of bad breath which sometimes are medical reasons. If they suspect that you have an underlying medical condition like problems with your liver or heart which are potentially fatal, they will refer you to a doctor for a check up.
Another way a dentist will help you conquer the problem is by charting your progress as you go on with measures to counter it. They will keep giving you breath tests using a halimeter to see if the measures you are taking are working.
Cure, don't cover
Perhaps you have tried to get rid of the problem yourself by using breath sprays, breath mints and chewing gum. These may cover up the problem for a while after using them but they will not get rid of the problem completely. Also, sometimes the problem may be chronic halitosis.
The problem of bad breath is chronic in some people. This means that with some measures, the problem goes away only to reappear again after a while. This is why working with a dentist is important. If the problem is chronic, the dentist will definitely send you off for a physical examination.
Possibilities like medication that you are using long-term such as for the heart, liver, blood pressure and diabetes which may be drying out your mouth will be explored. The dentist will also look closely at your lifestyle habits. Your diet and how much water you consume per day will also be looked at.
Consuming heavily spiced foods for instance, will definitely compromise efforts to completely eliminate your halitosis problem. Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol frequently also contributes to the problem. Another habit your doctor will look at is how much water you consume every day. When you have a problem with bad breath, it is important to keep sipping on water frequently. This increases the flow of saliva in the mouth which keeps washing away the bacteria that would otherwise linger in the mouth and cause bad breath.
Sorting out teeth problems
Another reason that it is best to work with a dentist is that they can advice you on treatments that may help to sort out the problem. For instance, if you have gaps in between your teeth or if they are crooked, there will be food particles that remain lodged in them even after brushing and flossing. This is the reason why older people, who typically have missing teeth, tend to have the problem of halitosis compared to young people.
It would therefore be advisable to have treatments done to straighten your teeth and close the gaps in between. There are a number of effective ways to do this including wearing braces or Invisalign which are invisible aligners.
All fresh, all the time
It is rare that a dentist using a halimeter will be unable to get to the root of the problem of bad breath and prescribe measures to combat it. Engage one and get rid of the embarrassing problem once and for all.