Halitosis, better known as bad breath, affects 1 in 4 people globally. Many people are unaware of their bad breath due to the fact that it isn’t an easy thing to point out unless someone close tells you.
Are you that ONE in 4 person affected by halitosis? Well, if you’re not too sure, here’s a simple trick for you to find out:
Lick your wrist and let the saliva dry for a moment before smelling it. If the smell is unpleasant, it is likely that your breath smells.
Halitosis is commonly occurs when bacteria build up in the mouth isn’t removed, hence, producing sulphur compounds that cause the bad odour.
For that, there are various reasons why and how this bad odour is caused:
- Poor oral hygiene
Food that is not digested and stuck in the mouth will be broken down by bacteria which produce sulphur compounds. If left in the mouth for an extended period of time, this can cause bad breath.
- Consumption of strong-smelling food and drinks
This includes onions, garlic, coffee, drinking alcohol or smoking. Yes, this is not a myth! When onions and garlic are digested, their breakdown products are carried via blood to the lungs which can affect your breath.
- Dry mouth
Saliva naturally cleans your mouth. It is required to keep the mouth moist, neutralize acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells accumulated in the mouth. When your mouth is dry, these cells will not be removed and rather, decompose which causes bad breath.
And this is also why people generally do not have a nice breath in the morning because their mouths get dried up throughout the night.
Bad Breath and Period
So how does menstruation contribute to halitosis?
Throughout your period cycle, your body experiences a lot of hormonal changes in order to cope with the changes your body is going through. One of the hormones that initiate menstruation can cause some alterations to your gums and other mouth tissues, making your mouth a more conducive environment for these foul-smelling bacteria. Hence, this causes dry mouth which leads to bad breath.
In a study done by researchers between men and women, women had a higher measurement of halitosis than their male counterparts. And these measurements were especially heightened before and during their periods.
Another explanation is that when there’s a dip in your estrogen level, there is a reduction in your mouth’s saliva production. As a result, this can cause dry mouth which prevents bacteria and dead cells to be removed.
So now to answer the main question for the day:
Yes, your bad breath can be caused (or further heightened) by your period.
Solutions to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Here are some practical tips for you (or you to tell your friend who’s got a bad breath):
- Good oral hygiene
We’ve been drilled to brush twice a day and to floss your teeth daily for this sole reason!
- Avoid food that promotes bad breath
As mentioned earlier on, foods like onion and garlic, and alcohol drinks or smoking can cause bad breath. If possible, avoid these items and you should be safe!
- Keeping your mouth fresh
However, if you can’t avoid eating these items (company dinner, your ultimate #1 guilty pleasure etc.) then it is important to prepare against them!
One method is to prevent yourself from having a dry mouth. Keeping your mouth “hydrated” will flush your mouth of these foul-smelling bacteria! Ensure that you’re drinking sufficient liquids or carrying around a mouth rinse.
Tip: Teas are packed with a whole lot of benefits! However, they can also cause cramps when the wrong types of tea are consumed when you’re on your period. Check out our tea articles (here and here) for a more detailed write-up!
Lastly, keep some mint sweets, chewing gums or lozenges in your bag. Simply pop one of them into your mouth when you feel it might be needed!
In summary, drink lots of water to prevent bad breath. And ladies, drink even more when you’re on your period.
If you’re someone who faces halitosis, we hope that this has helped given you some insight on what goes on and how you can curb it! If you’re reading this with someone in mind and haven’t told him/her about their bad breath, gather up your courage and help a friend out (or share this article on your Facebook)!
Fun fact: A person who constantly thinks they have bad breath when they don’t is called halitophobia.