Are you “Nose Blind?”
I heard that phrase on a television commercial today . I can’t remember what the ad was about, but these words stuck with me and made me think of imperceptible breath odour. We’ve had some of our patients tell us over the years that they’ve had close family members tell them that they had really bad breath, something they had not been aware of. They came to us looking for solutions and we were happy to offer them our professional advice.
Interestingly enough, many people do not know that they suffer from bad breath until someone tells them which is why the phrase Nose Blind would be an appropriate description of most people’s perception of their breath.
Why are we usually the last person to know that we have a mouth odor problem? And more embarrassing, is the thought that it has probably been occurring for a long time and we are just finding out now.
This will sound blunt, but how many situations have you been in where you have offended others with your bad breath and they have just been too polite or uncomfortable to tell you? It is certainly a horrific thought, but knowledge is power and recognizing that you have a problem is the first step in finding a solution.
There is something more horrible than your average bad breath.
Although poor hygiene is the #1 cause of bad breath, sometimes it can be more complicated than just that. Medications, illnesses, substance abuse, bulima and other habits can leave your mouth smelling anything but fresh, however, there is a mouth malodour that is so severe that it actually permeates throughout a room and nauseates bystanders causing them to cover their own noses.
Perio breath is one such breath odour. It is used to describe the foul mouth odour that develops as a result of gum disease. Periodontal disease is a dental disease affects the supporting tissues surrounding the teeth. As the disease advances pocketing and destruction of surrounding gum tissue and bone occurs. The bacteria involved produce a sulphorus, gaseous smell similar to rotting tissue or rotten eggs. It is very distinct in its odour and usually a person can identify a distaste in their mouth, but may not be able to detect what others are smelling.
This is another reason why it is often referred to a “Silent” disease. It is very important that you see your dentist as soon as possible since this level of bad breath is a good indication that you have been suffering from this condition longer than you may think. Dental treatment with accompanying home care can help you get control of bacterial buildup and their destructive actions and odours. It is important to understand however, that untreated gum disease will advance causing more than chronic bad breath… it can be life-threatening.
Have you ever heard of tonsil stones? It is a less known, but not uncommon condition called tonsilloliths. Tonsil stones are small, white deposits of bacterial plaque and food that builds up in the craters of your tonsils and are usually dislodged during eating and coughing.
Tonsils are made up of folds of lymphatic tissue and some people have deeper folds and pockets than others making it difficult to remove this accumulation. Just like facial pores, these crevices can develop into deep openings where buildup continues to collect. The only way that they can be cleaned out is with medical assistance. An ENT physician can extract the deposits and teach you how to eliminate this buildup yourself at home.
For the brave of heart you can search for tonsil stones online. Just a warning though – The extraction of this material can be visually disturbing, but it can be a very seriously embarassing social problem for those suffering from the foul odour it causes.
The Social Implications of Chronic Bad Breath
Nobody wants to hear the hard reality of how people judge one another, but the social consequences of bad breath can be far reaching. The irony is that most people are too polite and would find it awkward to tell you that there’s a odour coming from your mouth. Unfortunately however, it can affect your image and sadly, your opportunities. If you are lucky enough to at least suspect that you have more than just the occasional bad breath ask a close loved one – they’ll tell you the truth. Review your oral hygiene habits and if the problem persists, see your physician or dentist for diagnosis. We’re here to help!
Yours in Better Health,