Bad Breath? Everything You Need To Know About Halitosis
By Buttercup 7 Day Dental 19th Feb 2018
Halitosis – or bad breath as it’s better known – can be an embarrassing problem that arises from time to time (morning breath anyone?). But some suffer from this unpleasant problem on a regular basis, which along with embarrassment, can cause distress and concern.
We’re going to talk you through how you can tell if you’re currently suffering from bad breath, the different plausible causes, as well as how to prevent future problems of halitosis.
And don’t worry it’s an extremely common problem, 1 in 4 people across the globe suffer bad breath, so read through this blog and we will have you back smiling in no time.
Do A Quick Bad Breath Check
It’s simple. Just lick the back of your hand and wait until your saliva dries, and then sniff it.
I know it sounds a bit icky, but it’s the quickest way to detect any sort of unpleasant smell. If you can smell it on the back of your hand there is a strong chance your breath also smells bad.
Other things to look for that would hint that you might have bad breath would be seeing the whitey looking bacteria called plaque forming on your tongue or on your teeth. If you can see it, you can probably smell it.
What Causes Halitosis?
There are numerous things that can cause bad breath, some are quick easy fixes, others can be more serious.
Here are some of the most common bad breath offenders:
Poor Oral Hygiene
If you don’t brush your teeth at least twice daily then you are allowing bacteria to build up in your mouth.
Bacteria builds up on your teeth, between them and also on your tongue, cheeks and gums. This bacteria can produce unpleasant smelling gases when it breaks down any trapped food in your mouth. Not only this but this bacteria is responsible for gum disease and tooth decay.
Want to find out more about gum disease? Check out our article Bleeding Gums? Gingivitis and Gum Disease.
What You Can Do:
Have a great oral hygiene routine in place that includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss in between teeth for trapped food daily.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue and cheeks as well as bacteria can also be found there.
Visit your dentist and hygienist for your regular checkups to keep everything in tip top condition.
Strong Smelling Food and Drink
I’m sure we can all very easily list 5 if not 50 food or drinks that leave a lingering smell – garlic, onion, cheese, coffee, beer – and some go beyond just the smell.
A lot of the food and drink that give off strong smells also affect the acidity in your mouth and can give you ‘dry mouth’ – maybe a few adults will know this after a night of drinking.
Dry mouth is an issue because there is less saliva that goes a long way towards getting rid of all the unwanted leftover food and drink particles in your mouth. Less saliva means less food being removed which means quicker breakdown by bacteria.
What Can You Do:
Well, of course you can avoid these food, but if you are too big a fan of the cheese, the just try to keep your mouth hydrated. Wash your food down with a glass of water to help in the process of removing the leftover food and the lingering smell. Also keep up your good dental hygiene routine.
Smoking is another very common cause of bad breath. Not only does it leave a horrible smell it also stains your teeth, irritates your gums and reduces your sense of taste.
Tobacco dehydrates the mouth, and as we’ve discussed before less salvia means more bad breath. It can also be a huge contributor towards gum disease, which is another major cause of halitosis.
What Can You Do:
Quitting along with a multitude of benefits also prevents bad breath.
Chewing gum is a great way to stimulate the production of saliva, or drinking more water.
Medical Conditions and Medications
In rarer cases bad breath may be caused by certain medical conditions and medications that result in dry mouth causing the flow and composition of saliva to be affected.
Others conditions such as gastrointestinal conditions can affect the stomach lining and small intestine which have been linked to bad breath.
More commonly having the cold or suffering from throat and nose infections are often seen in cases of bad breath.
What Can You Do:
For conditions such as the cold and flu make sure to drink plenty of fluids and rest up. For other ongoing conditions consult with your doctor on what would be the best way to tackle the problem of bad breath.
Top Tips For Getting Rid of Bad Breath
The best tips we can give you are already detailed above. Just be sure to:
- Have an excellent oral care routine, brushing twice daily for 2 minutes each time along with flossing to remove any leftover food particles. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Brush your tongue, cheeks and gums as well as bacteria can be found there. If you have dentures make sure to take them out and night and clean them thoroughly before putting them back in the next morning.
- Make some better lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and eating healthier, balanced foods.
- Drink plenty of water to help wash away food and stimulate the production of saliva.
- Visit your dentist for regular check ups
Bad Breath Still Lingering?
If you follow these tips and have a solid dental routine but still have lingering bad breath go and visit your dentist to see if they can make any changes or improvements to your dental hygiene.
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They might also refer you to your GP if there happens to be any sort of medical cause that needs to be looked into further.