Halitosis, or bad breath, is a common condition which no one likes to talk about, and yet understanding the causes and treatments available could provide a lot of relief and reduced embarrassment.
If you are worried you might suffer from bad breath, take a look at these common causes and solutions and decide whether you can manage the condition yourself, or if it could be the result of an underlying dental or medical problem which needs professional input and a structured treatment plan.
What causes bad breath?
Unfortunately, there are a large number of reasons why you could be suffering from bad breath, but these are the most common:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Eating certain foods (like onions and garlic which can linger for hours after you’ve eaten)
- Bacteria build up in your mouth
- Infections, like gum disease or other ear, nose and throat conditions like tonsil stones or post-nasal drip
- A side effect from medications
What can you do about bad breath?
Firstly, you need to identify the cause of the problem, and then treat it accordingly:
- Smoking: This should be an obvious problem to fix – if you know that smoking is causing you to have bad breath, cut down on smoking, or make sure you are practicing good oral hygiene after finishing a cigarette.
- Poor dental hygiene: If you think that brushing alone is enough to keep your mouth healthy, you are mistaken, as this only cleans 60% of your teeth. The rest you need to clean by flossing in and around the gum line. If you don’t floss, plaque can build up on your teeth and this gives bacteria place to linger, which can contribute to bad breath.
- Eating certain foods: You shouldn’t be put off eating your favourite things if you know they cause bad breath – just take steps after you’ve finished eating to prevent bad odours. Brush, rinse and floss to keep your mouth fresh, and drink plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to keep mints handy for throughout the day to keep your mouth fresh.
- Bacteria build up in your mouth: As bacteria in your mouth breaks down food debris, it leaves a by-product of bad-smelling sulphur compounds, which are responsible for bad breath. That’s why regular dental hygiene is so important to keep your breath smelling fresh and clean. Always try to drink plenty of water during the day too to rinse this bacteria away.
- Infections and illnesses: If you are suffering from gum disease, this can leave a horrible taste in your mouth and make you self-conscious about your breath too. With some other conditions, such as acid reflux, this can also be associated with bad breath. Medications used for the treatment of chronic conditions can sometimes lead to dry mouth (where the production of saliva in your mouth is decreased) which can lead to ‘mouth breathing’ and bad breath.
If you are concerned that your bad breath is the result of a dental issue, book an appointment with your dentist straight away. You should also tell them if you are taking any medications or are suffering from any conditions as this will help determine the correct course of action to tackle this problem.
We want everyone to be confident with their smile and if halitosis is causing you distress, rest assured we are here to help you manage this condition. Contact us today to book an appointment.