What you should know about bad breath

Bad breath (halitosis) is a common and widespread condition affecting a very significant number of adults. Halitosis can actually affect a person’s quality of life as it is socially embarrassing. The most common cause is decaying food debris sitting between the teeth and gum. Of course bad breath isn’t the end of the world, but it can cause some distress. 

There are many ways that a person can develop halitosis.  These include the following:

  • Infections of the throat or tonsils
  • Eating lots of spicy food
  • Consuming a lot of alcohol 
  • Smoking!
  • Infections found in the mouth, such as oral candidiasis and herpetic gingivostomatitis
  • Dental and gum diseases — for example poor dental hygiene, including but not limited to dental abscess/decay, periodontitis
  • Possible signs of oral cancer
  • Dry mouth (often due to a blocked nose and having to solely breathe through the mouth)
  • Issues with dentures which don’t fit properly
  • Tongue coating

You can manage your halitosis by taking the following actions:

  • Brushing teeth twice daily (particularly at night before sleeping)
  • Interdental cleaning such as flossing after brushing and eating
  • Reducing the amount of sugary food and drinks you consume 
  • Reducing spicy foods and garlic consumption
  • Quitting smoking
  • Seeking advice from a dentist or dental hygienist

It is important to note that it is very common to wake up with bad breath and this is easily resolved by eating your breakfast and drinking  a glass of water.

Persistent halitosis is commonly caused by built up food debris and dental bacterial plaque on the teeth and tongue, so make sure you are brushing twice a day and keeping up with good oral hygiene.  

Invest in some dental equipment such as a tongue scraper and a water flosser. You can also use peppermint mouth sprays and sugar-free chewing gum throughout the day. 

See your dentist to rule out any serious problems. Halitosis can sometimes be caused by non oral issues, so seeing your dentist can determine whether you need a referral to another professional.

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