SEOUL, March 21 (Korea Bizwire) – “My dad always tells me that my breath smells like poop and it’s driving me mad. I have trouble talking to people up close, face-to-face in school.”
“I have terrible breath like I’m belching out a public toilet.”
“My girlfriend has awful breath and I don’t want to tell her straight up. Is there anything I can do to help?”
These are some of the actual questions and concerns submitted to Naver’s open Q&A forum, and they show just how much bad breath can affect relationships and lower one’s self-esteem if left unaddressed.
Also known as halitosis or fetor oris, dentists say bad breath results from volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that are formed by anaerobic bacteria as they digest proteins.
In 85 percent of the cases, the condition is accompanied or worsened by oral complications such as dental caries, gum diseases, and coated or white tongue. Prosthetic appliances such as braces or dentures accruing food residue can make the odor even worse.
Other factors and diseases can contribute to halitosis as well, according to experts, including extreme stress, diabetes, kidney diseases, hepatocirrhosis, and leukemia, while individuals frequently skipping meals are also vulnerable to the symptom.
Although there are different methods to check your own breath – such as smelling your own saliva after licking your wrist, and letting it dry – more professional procedures are available at dental clinics by analyzing a patient’s blood sample or salivary flow rate, or with halimeter and gas chromatography to measure VSC levels in the mouth.
Professional treatment is necessary if bad breath is caused by oral discomforts or old dental prostheses, but dedicating more time and being more thorough brushing one’s teeth (and tongue) can alone prevent and improve the condition to a certain extent. Using floss and an interdental brush is also highly recommended to remove any lingering residue.
“A regular breakfast habit can help get rid of white tongue and promote salivation, preventing bad breath,” said periodontology doctor Kang Kyung-Lhi from Kyung Hee University Hospital in Gangdong.
“A low-fat, high-fiber diet with fruits and vegetables, instead of meat, can also help,” she added. “Drinking a lot of water, and refraining from smoking and drinking alcohol can be useful too. But it’s most important to have regular checkups to maintain good dental health.”
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)