Causes of bad breath can be broadly classified into local causes and systemic causes. Causative factors within the mouth are termed local causes. Causes due to factors or diseases of the body, such as diabetes, smoking, kidney disease and stomach upset are known as systemic causes. We will be limiting our discussion to local causes only.
Local Causes: Within the human mouth there are numerous kinds of bacteria, which, as by-products, give out sulphides and ammonia which are the main causes of bad breath. Hence the amount of bacteria has to be controlled, and conditions that cause them to thrive have to be eliminated.
These factors are:
- Poor oral hygiene caused by not brushing or improper tooth brushing technique.
- A dirty tongue.
- Cavities in the teeth.
- Gum disease caused by plaque and tartar.
- Dirty dentures, false teeth and other fixed appliances in the mouth.
After having identified the causes, we can now deal with how to prevent bad breath, especially while fasting:
- Brushing one's teeth after every meal, preferably early morning (at Sehri time).
- Flossing one's teeth which mean cleaning between the teeth using special thread called dental floss. Use of toothpicks is not advisable for this purpose.
- Use of a tongue or using a toothbrush to clean the tongue.
- Use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. A non-alcoholic mouthwash should be used as alcohol causes a dry mouth which can aggravate the problem.
- Cavities in the teeth should be filled promptly to prevent food accumulation within them.
- Removal of tartar on teeth by a dentist at least once every six months.
- Drink at least 2-3 glasses of water at Sehri time.