A Consultant Family Dentist, Dr Celestine Uyanwanne, says dealing with the underlying cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis, may be observed by use of face masks.
Uyanwanne, who is also the Medical Director (MD), Celon Dental Clinic, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos that wearing face masks could not cause halitosis but may aggravate an existing problem for the user.
”An Online Medical Resource, www.webmd.com, says bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems.
According to WebMD, all food eaten begin its digestive process from the mouth.
“If you eat food such as garlic and onions, with strong odours, brushing and flossing, even mouthwash merely covers up the odour temporarily; it will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body,” it says.
”Another Online Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org says: “Halitosis can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety.
“It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to fight bad breath.
“Many of the products are only temporary measures because they don’t address the cause of the problem,” he said
Uyanwanne noted that apart from local causes of bad breath, which includes poor oral hygiene, inflammation within the mouth and cavities retaining food, systemic diseases could also cause halitosis.
“There are some gases that are being exhaled from the lungs or there could be so much substance in the system being exhaled through the mouth.
“Some foods have a way of being excreted through the salivary glands in the mouth; even alcohol, if somebody takes it and you perceive it, it’s not the same that goes in that is exhaled.
“There are also certain medications that could decrease the salivary flow, thereby causing bad breath,” he said.
The dentist added that there’s a psychogenic type of halitosis, which is experienced by people with a psychological problem or exaggerated fear that makes them believe they have bad breath.
He said some people who had experienced halitosis or those who had been cured from it find themselves in that situation.
Uyanwanne urged those experiencing bad breath while using face masks to seek medical help, in order to take care of the underlying cause of the condition.
“Face mask does not cause bad breath but may be a way for someone who didn’t use to perceive his breath to get a feedback.
“If you have bad breath or feel you have, visit a good dentist, who will do a thorough examination and possibly test for halitosis.
“Once you handle the underlying cause, the halitosis will be taken care of,” he said.
He further urged people to maintain good oral hygiene to combat bad breath and other mouth infections.
Uyanwanne also cautioned face mask users against improper handling and constant touching of the surface to avoid transferring germs to their hands and faces.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)