Bad breath is a common problem in life that is in most cases temporary and easily remedied with good dental hygiene. It is not only a problem in seniors but affects all age groups at some time or the other. Combating bad breath is a daily undertaking and often not related to any mouth or tooth disease.
However, there are instances where bad breath is chronic and even the best dental regimen only provides minor relief or temporarily abates the foul odor. The elderly may be more prone to bouts of halitosis for various reasons associated with aging and age-related conditions. Without first understanding these possible causes and attending to the root of the problem, bad breath cannot be remedied even in a person who is conscientious about their oral and dental hygiene.
One of the main factors in orodental (mouth-teeth) hygiene is saliva. It is secreted by the salivary glands and has digestive enzymes to aid with chemical breakdown of food and saliva also lubricates and moisturizes the mouth. The antimicrobial properties of saliva prevents bacteria and other microbes from proliferating extensively in the mouth. These bacteria are largely responsible for the decay of food remnants in the mouth, and sometimes even decay of the teeth itself. Bad breath is almost always due to the decay of the particles of food that is stuck on the rough surface of the tongue, between the teeth and other crevices and corners within the mouth.
Apart from decomposing food in the mouth and dental problems that may subsequently develop, bad breath also arises with :
In the elderly especially there is also the debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease that can contribute to poor dental hygiene. A person with Parkinson’s disease may be unable to brush their teeth or floss to a sufficient degree or may forget to do so in Alzhemier’s disease.
Chronic halitosis needs to be investigated thoroughly for an underlying cause especially in a person who is conscientious about their dental hygiene. However, in many instances the problem is simply a matter of good dental hygiene. Dental health is dependent on many factors and the following measures may be able to reduce the impact of bad breath. This includes :