One month of the new semester has passed. Mr. Goodsmell, the freshman this year, might have already found his girlfriend. However, he has some trouble with his love. He cannot easily try his first kiss because something is troubling him, which he cannot say it to anyone. He has had bad breath for several years. He thinks that people dislike talking with him. In other words, he lost his social confidence. Of course, he also thinks his girlfriend will definitely not like his attempt at kissing her for this reason.
This story is true for not only Mr. Goodsmell, but for many other people as well. According to one Japanese baking company’s survey, 78 percent of the respondents answered that the most sensitive bad smell comes from halitosis. Then, can these people know why the bad breath bothers them? And, are there any cures that can make Mr. Goodsmell’s first kiss sweet?
Oriental View of Bad Breath
Usually, people who suffer from bad breaths find the reason in their mouth. However, it is not the usual way of catching halitosis in oriental medicine. “If people solve their bad breathe just in their mouths, it will be a temporary cure and cause other complications. They should find more specific reasons to cure bad breath surely,” Chae Ki-won, from Cheong-a-yon Oriental Medicine Clinic, said.
From the view of Oriental medicine, three typical reasons bother people with bad breath. One of the typical reasons is an illness of the digestive organs. These illnesses induce fever inside of the organs, so the bad breathe occurs. Also, being full of gas in the organs makes bad breath, too.
Bad Breath is also related with the nose. Occurrences of bad breath are due to the nose for the same reason as the bad breath after awaking from sleep. During sleeping, the supply of saliva is almost cut off resulting in the dried up oral saliva. This is the cause of bad breath. Likewise, illnesses such as a crooked nose, sinus infection and rhinitis make patients breathe through their mouth. This breath induces a dry mouth, causing the bad breath.
Doctors also diagnose the seriousness of bad breath by a coated tongue. If someone have white or yellow coated tongue, it is possible that their bad breath is serious. Yoo Do-keun, a doctor of Shinbi Oriental Clinic, said, “The coated tongue means that the fever of people is concentrated in the top of the body, so this physical feature makes a sulfide smell in their mouth.”
Western View of Bad Breath
From the view of Western pathology, bad breath is caused by bacteria’s activity. It explains that the bacteria which lives inside the tongue disassembles protein, and this process of disassembling makes a volatile sulfur compound.
It is compared with oriental medicine which says bad breath is classified with dentistry in western medicine, so doctors believe that 90 percent of halitosis is caused inside the mouth. According to the Korean Academy of Periodontory, irregular teeth brushing, periodontal disease, and cavities cause bad breath. Also, it is interesting that one of the causes of bad breath is dentures that are not clean. Lee Sang-Hyung, a Dentist of Core Dental Clinic, commented that one of the biggest reasons for bad breath occurs through periodontal disease. “Adults over 30 years old, usually suffer from periodontal disease. Especially, patients who have serious periodontal disease have pus in their gums. That pus makes the worst smell.”
It is almost the same with oriental thinking after dentistry diagnosis. Trouble with the metabolic system, nose problems, diabetes, lung disease, and stress are the other reasons for bad breath. Lee said, “In Western medicine, most cases are solved by dentists. However, in the case of diabetes patients, they can have an oral odor like an acetone smell.”
Cure and Prevention of Bad Breath
Then, how can Mr. Goodsmell succeed with his sweet first kiss? The first step that Mr. Bad Breath has to do is self-diagnose. The ways of Self-diagnosis are smelling his breath by blocking his mouth, licking his hands and sniffing the smell, or collecting saliva in a clean bowl, and checking the smell. Self-diagnosis is important and it lets the individual know just a smell of food or a bad breath. If Mr. Goodsmell realizes that he is a patient of bad breath, he needs to consult a doctor.
If Mr. Goodsmell visits the dental clinic, he can solve his bad breath by curing his oral problem. As previously mentioned, the usual problems are cavities and periodontal diseases. “After diagnosing the cause of bad breath, the ways for curing will be different. Scaling is the effective way for curing periodontal disease. In serious cases, doctors press out the pus located in the root of the tooth. One of my patients woke up refreshed when he finished scaling.” Lee said.
If he decided to go to an oriental medicine clinic, he would have been cured by acupuncture, herbal medicine, straightening of his spine, and so on. According to Yoo, the term for recovery is different for each person. “The period for curing simple bad breath is between one and two months, and the serious symptoms will be cured in over three months with proper treatment,” Yoo explained.
These Doctors emphasized that early treatment makes for an effective and rapid recovery. Chae told me about his episode related with early treatment. “A man who is in his 60’s visited our clinic to treating his bad breath. He was worried about his bad breath from his youth. So, it took him over five months to be completely cured. After the recovery, I was a little bit embarrassed as the man was crying because he can now do his social activity confidently.”
According to Lee Sang-hyung, the basic way of preventing bad breath is brushing your teeth regularly. He explained, “I recommend to my patient that five minutes of tooth-brushing is proper. Also, brushing the tongue and gums is very important for continued prevention.” And he suggests that regular medical checkups and scaling every six months will assist in preventing halitosis.
Then, what is the prevention that oriental clinic doctors recommend? For people who have an illness related with the nose, refraining from breathing through the mouth is recommended for the prevention of the drying of oral saliva. Also, it is recommended for people who have metabolic problem to reduce their eating of instant foods such as snacks. Instead of instant food, drinking green tea, eating plums and yogurt will assist them to defend themselves from bad breath’s stress.
If you are one of the victims of halitosis, you have to go to the hospital as soon as possible. "If you hide your bad breath for a long time, the symptoms will only worsen. Do not hesitate and get others' help,” Yoo said. In one of the dentistry indexes, it is described that many of the patients who suffer from halitosis do not need to frustrate it. Halitosis is not an incurable disease. In the clinics, both oriental and western medicines are waiting to assist with patients’ recovery. Mr. Goodsmell can overcome his bad breath and have a good smell in his mouth like his name. Let us pray that he can accomplish his first kiss with his lovely girlfriend.