What is Halitophobia?
Halitophobia is the delusional thought that you have bad breath when you don’t. It is a nervous concern that most people have about their breath. When talking about halitophobia, and if you are afraid of exhaling, this is a real and true phobia.
A person suffering from this condition can be frightened of talking or breathing around others.
So what can be done about this?
If you have halitophobia and are afraid of exhaling, are you doomed to a life of silence and fear? Not – there are some ways you can cope and deal with this situation, and even get around it.
When medical intervention is necessary, your doctor has several options for what he or she can prescribe, whether it’s something for your breath itself (in case you do have a problem) or something for your anxiety.
It is imperative to know the difference between this actual disease or condition and the general anxiety that many people have about their breath. Let’s examine that subject a bit closer now.
If You Have Halitophobia, You Are Afraid of Exhaling
Everyone is a bit apprehensive about their breath at one time or another. Walk down any candy aisle of any supermarket or pharmacy, and count the number of gums, mints, drops, sprays, and everything else available for bad breath.
If people weren’t so concerned about their breath, these aisles and their hundreds of products wouldn’t exist.
However, if you have true halitophobia, you are afraid of exhaling, period. More than just a concern regarding your breath’s freshness or level of “minty-ness,” halitophobia and being fearful of exhaling are like other phobias that you may be familiar with.
Someone with a real phobia about snakes, for instance, isn’t just uncomfortable with them being around, they run screaming if they see one. A person with aquaphobia, or a fear of water, doesn’t just stay in the boat, he or she avoids the water completely.
So it is with halitophobia and being afraid of exhaling. We’re not talking about a particular concern or comfort level; we’re talking about an actual fear or dread of what may be coming out of your mouth.
Dealing With Phobias, and Halitophobia, Being Afraid of Exhaling
No matter what the phobia, there is probably a treatment method available for it, and the old stereotype of a doctor forcing you into the situation that makes you terrified is long gone.
More comfortable and approachable methods are currently being used to encourage persons to face their fears and conquer their phobias, whatever they may be.
Many phobias develop after a specific event or occurrence. For example, a person may develop a fear of heights after a fall. So getting to the root of your halitophobia and being afraid of exhaling may be the first step that you can take to get over it.
Ask yourself if there was any traumatic occurrence that involved being made fun of because of your breath, such as when you were a child. We all know that children can be so cruel at times, and sometimes a minor incident during the school years can be overblown and made fun of for years to come.
Or, sometimes children will make up something that they want to tease you about, whether it’s real or not. Your halitophobia and fear of exhaling may have sprung from an incident much like that.
Or perhaps it was something more recent, such as overhearing someone make fun of you behind your back, or hearing an unkind comment from someone you thought you were close to.
It may be painful to relive such comments or cruel remarks, but the only way to get past your halitophobia and being afraid of exhaling is by understanding why you have this fear in the first place.
Talking Yourself Out of Halitophobia and Being Afraid of Exhaling
Many persons with phobias can talk themselves through their fears. Of course, this is not recommended if your concern is somewhat justified or if you can put yourself in danger, such as walking along the edge of a building to overcome your fear of heights!
However, think seriously about your halitophobia and being afraid of exhaling. Is it justified?
If there was a hateful comment made or some other incident, could it have been something said or done out of malice with no real bearing on what your breath is like? Is there a chance that you’re more aware of the problem than others?
What about your real friends and family members – have they said anything? Can you possibly ask one of them if you have such a problem with your breath that you should be so afraid? Getting an honest opinion might help you put your fears to rest.
Getting Medical Help for Halitophobia and Being Afraid of Exhaling
Only a medical doctor can tell you if you have a chronic case of halitosis, and if you need medical intervention for your breath. However, what you might need medical help with is your phobia, not the breath itself.
For halitophobia and being afraid of exhaling, your doctor might be able to recommend anti-anxiety pills or other medications that have helped others with their phobias.
There may also be something he or she would give you that would make you feel as if you are taking care of the problem, such as gums or mints. These may be just placebos, but they may work to put your mind at ease.
Keys to Dealing With Halitophobia
If you’re someone dealing with halitophobia, you are not alone. It is not a common phobia or disorder; less than 1% of the population has it; however, it is a genuine phobia and one that must be taken seriously.
Dealing with halitophobia can be difficult and isolating, so it’s essential that you get professional help if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with this problem.
But before we talk about some critical keys to dealing with halitophobia, let’s dug it more what exactly is Halitophobia
What is Halitophobia?
The prefix “halito” refers to breath. You’re probably familiar with the word halitosis, which refers to bad or foul breath. Halitophobia then is the fear of having bad breath.
It seems treatable very easily, but dealing with halitophobia is no small matter, as is true with all phobias.
Body dysmorphic disorder affects people in many different ways; some people feel a detachment from their limbs; others become obsessed with so-called imperfections and even become addicted to plastic surgery procedures.
When dealing with halitophobia, it may be helpful to try to understand how body dysmorphic disorder affects people differently, as halitophobia may fall under this category.
The fear that there is something wrong with your body – whether it’s the thought that insects are crawling on your skin or that you have a very foul body odor or bad breath – is genuine to those who suffer from it.
Dealing With Halitophobia as a Real Phobia
There are real phobias that people have that seem somewhat justifiable. For example, having a fear of heights can be a safeguard, keeping you from taking dangerous chances when nearing the ledge of a building.
People have different phobias, some fear snakes, spider because they are dangerous and unpredictable. While rest even don’t care about these phobias, the people that do have these phobias are not thinking of as odd or bothersome.
However, dealing with halitophobia is different because many people don’t understand how someone can develop a fear of having bad breath.
Persons suffering from this disorder are easily trapping, as many might reason to themselves that even if you do have bad breath, so what?
It won’t kill you the way falling from a tall building would or being bitten by a poisonous snake. This type of dismissive attitude, even sometimes shared by those in the medical community, can make dealing with halitophobia that much more difficult than dealing with other phobias.
When being treated for phobias, it’s essential that the sufferer knows that the doctor or counselor believes that this is a real fear on the part of the patient. It may not be a rational or justifiable fear, but it is real nonetheless. Being dismissed or ignored is not helpful.
Many people are dealing with halitophobia experience extreme isolation. Because we having breath all the time, many sufferers begin to avoid social contact and suffer in their career and employment because of this.
They may also be afraid of intimate physical relationships. Remember, dealing with halitophobia is more than just nervousness or concern about one’s breath; it’s a real, terrifying, gripping fear.
If an individual is ignoring the more, it may very well spiral out of control. Experiencing the problems of physical and emotional isolation, job loss, and circumstances such as these will not help the situation any.
Find a Doctor
When dealing with halitophobia, you may find that it’s helpful to speak to a doctor about medical intervention, or at the very least, about seeing a counselor that specializes in phobias.
Group therapy for those with fears and anxieties is also helpful. Because such a small amount of the population have this specific phobia, you may not be likely to find a particular support group for halitophobia, however, just knowing that others have fears that are also irrational and that interfere with their personal lives can give you support.
Anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants can be helpful. The doctor sometimes prescribes medicines that treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as this calm the impulse to over-clean the mouth. Prozac, Paxil, and Xanax have commonly prescribed medications.
And if you are dealing with halitophobia, it’s important to resist the urge to consistently visit your dentist. If your doctor or dentist tells you that you have a phobia, then you need to listen to their words and follow their advice. Cleaning or treating your mouth excessively can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.
Others Are Dealing With Halitophobia
No, there is not a large segment of the population that is also dealing with halitophobia. It might be assuring to know that many people have fears and anxieties that are irrational. Whether it’s a fear of falling or a fear of germs or a fear of strangers.
With each passing day, there are new medications, new therapies, and new treatments available. So while dealing with halitophobia may be very difficult, and you may feel hopeless, there is no need. Help is available, whether it’s a medication or other therapy. You need to be open to such advice as it becomes available.
How To Fight Bad Breath
Halitosis bad breath is more often causes by bad oral hygiene habits. You can cure bad breath by taking care to brush and floss in the right way. There are some fantastic tips to overcome bad breath.
Why Brushing and Flossing May Not Help
Sometimes there are conditions in which brushing and flossing may not work. Most often, this is the result of inadequate or infrequent brushing and flossing technique.
How To Floss Your Teeth
Floss uses to clean that parts of your mouth, where a toothbrush may not be able to reach. Start by flossing first, then follow with brushing, which will help get rid of the material that can collect between teeth.
If you don’t floss between teeth, that sticky material. It will turn hard and become plaque, a substance that causes tooth decay and can even lead to gum disease.
Dental floss is available in an incredible variety of types. There is waxed and unwaxed floss, either of which come in flavors from mint to cinnamon, or no flavor at all.
Floss strength can vary from extremely thin to great threads or even a kind of tape. There are now dental floss holders available which make flossing a bit easier.
Waxed floss is usually a bit easier to use, and a flavored waxed floss also leaves a light, pleasant taste. Give the floss from your dentist a try after your next visit, as these are usually high-quality brands.
How To Brush Your Teeth
Make sure you do brushing correctly. Most often people are in a rush and they do very fast brush. You are not doing a thorough job, leaving surfaces and spaces between teeth still covered with germs and plaque.
To ensure proper brushing, hold the toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle. Bringing the brush up from the bottom (moving from the bottom gums up to the top of the bottom teeth). Then down from the top (from the top of the upper gums to the tips of the upper teeth).If there is any broken loose from floss, this way it cleans all the plaque. And brush it away from the gums to keep it from doing damage. When finished with brushing outside the tooth surfaces, repeat the same technique on the inner surfaces. Brush top teeth back and forth.
Scraping Your Tongue
Most often people avoid to clean the tongue, but it’s also possible that they aren’t aware of the value of doing so.
Brushing or scraping the tongue removes additional plaque, germs, and bacteria, along with small food particles. They can remain on the tongue’s surface, and remove when brushing the tongue. These can be a primary source of bad breath, tartar builds up and resulting in tooth decay.
Tongue scraping is to know one of the most effective way to control halitosis.
Things to remember while cleaning teeth
To clean your tongue, be sure to reach as far to the back as you can. At first, this can trigger the gag reflex, which will lessen after some practice.
Use a special brush or scraper designed for tongue cleaning, which is available at most pharmacies. You can use your toothbrush. Scrape or brush from back to front. Make sure to use some pressure on the brush or scraper, but overdoing it can irritate.
While cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush can be satisfactory, many people prefer to do with a tongue scraper. They are less likely to gag when using a tongue scraper rather than a brush. You can get tongue scrapers at your supermarket or pharmacy.
Keep in mind that other things affect whether you have bad breath too. For example, your diet and the things you eat will have an impact, if you are eating a low-carb diet.
Read more about halitosis bad breath and treatment here