Monday, June 20, 2011

Monkey Breath

Monkey Breath

Are your friends and family missing eyebrows because they have been singed off?  Do your friends wear masks when talking to you?  Are your friends and family avoiding talking to you up close or even in person?  Does your significant other retreat rather than kiss you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might just have a bad case of Monkey Breath! 

What causes monkey breath?

Monkey breath commonly known as bad bread is actually halitosis.  Halitosis may be caused by many things. The most common cause is from not brushing and flossing your teeth daily. If you don't practice good oral hygiene after eating, food is left in your mouth. The food collects bacteria, rots, and causes a bad odor.  Monkey breath can also be caused by eating foods such as garlic or onions. When these foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, substances from the foods get into the air that you breathe out of your lungs. This can cause bad breath until all of the food is gone from your body. Other causes of bad breath are:

Tooth decay and gum disease caused by plaque (Plaque is a sticky material made of mucus and saliva, food particles, and bacteria.)

Using tobacco products

Dry mouth from medicines you are taking, salivary gland problems, or always breathing through your mouth (This means you have less saliva to cleanse the mouth.)

Eating infrequently

Infection with the bacteria that can cause ulcers (H. pylori)

Mouth infections

Other infections such as a cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, and tonsillitis

Other medical problems such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or gastrointestinal problems

How do I know if I have monkey breath?

A quick way to check your breath is to lick the side of your finger, then let the saliva dry for a minute or so. Smell the spot and you'll know what your breath smells like.

How is monkey breath (halitosis) diagnosed?

If you are concerned about bad breath, talk to your dentist about it. The dentist will examine your mouth, looking for tooth decay, pockets of plaque, and gum disease. If your dentist finds that your mouth is healthy, he or she may refer you to your healthcare provider to check for medical problems that can cause bad breath.

What can I do to prevent monkey breath?

First, try this:

Clean your teeth better. Food trapped between teeth breeds stinky plaque. Brush for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Be sure to use a clean section of floss each time you clean between two teeth.

Brush your tongue, especially the back, to remove odor-causing bacteria.

Drink more water. Monkey breath in the morning is caused by dehydration because your body uses up water at night. If you don't drink plenty of fluids, your breath can get sour.

Use a fluoride or antibacterial mouth rinse to help prevent tooth decay.

Avoid smoking, coffee, alcohol, onions, and garlic.

When you cannot brush after eating, chew sugarless gum. It stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acid and helps remove plaque, and thus freshens your breath. Gums containing the sweetener
Xylitol can help limit the growth of bacteria.

You can try drinking tea. Lab studies have shown that black or green teas block bacteria in the mouth from making the chemicals that smell bad.

If you wear dentures, remove them at night to clean them thoroughly. When possible, leave them out to soak while you sleep. Soak them in a denture cleaning solution and then brush them thoroughly to remove molds, fungus, and bacteria. Don't forget to brush all the areas in your mouth that are touched by the dentures.

See your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for checkups and cleanings. They can check for gum disease or other dental problems.

You can use a mouthwash or other breath freshener to temporarily hide bad breath. Nevertheless, if you need to constantly use something to freshen your breath, you should see your dentist to help find the cause.

If better dental care doesn't make your breath smell better, contact your healthcare provider to evaluate other possible causes of bad breath.

For more information, contact the American Dental Association at (800) 621-8099 or visit their Web site at

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