Suffering from bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing and restrictive, causing you to alter your behaviour in an attempt to hide your problem. But this needn’t be the case for many sufferers. There are a number of possible causes for bad breath, many of which can be rectified simply without the need for dental treatment.
What causes bad breath?
Poor oral hygiene – Bacteria on the teeth, tongue and gums can lead to the build up on plaque, an increase in tooth decay or even gum disease. Once this bacteria has combined with saliva it can release an unpleasant gas
Strong flavoured foods – Consuming strongly flavoured foods and drink such as garlic, onions and coffee can lead to strong odours if not dealt with quickly
Smoking – Smoking can make your breath smell but it also irritates your gums, which can lead to gum disease and bad breath
Medicines – Nitrate-based medicines, some chemotherapy medicine and phenothiazines can cause a bad smell in your breath
Medical conditions – Dry mouth is one medical condition that can cause bad breath due to a change in the flow of saliva, which allows bacteria to build up in the mouth. Lung and throat infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, diabetes and gastritis are other common causes.
Preventing bad breath
By altering your oral hygiene routine you can often prevent bad breath without requiring a visit to your dentist. Teeth brushing is particularly important, and should be conducted twice a day in order to prevent the build up of bacteria. During teeth brushing, it is important that the brush can fit into all the areas of the mouth, while a fluoride toothpaste should be used to kill bacteria already growing on the teeth and gums. It’s important that you purchase a new toothbrush every 3 – 4 months if you’re to prevent bad breath.
Cleaning between teeth
After you have brushed your teeth you should clean in between using floss or an interdental brush. The goal is to clear the spaces between your teeth of food and debris and prevent the build up of bacteria in places that cannot be reached with a tooth brush.
Food and drink
Avoiding certain types of food and drink can also prevent bad breath. Sugary and starchy foods are particularly bad, often containing large amounts of acid that react to bacteria and cause decay. Fizzy drinks have a similar affect, reacting with bacteria to cause enamel erosion.
is important to seek advices from a dentist if you think you may be suffering from either tooth decay or gum disease and they will suggest suitable procedures or treatments that may cure help you manage your bad breath. These could include root canal treatments, extraction, hygienist visits or fillings.