Almost everyone experiences bad breath occasionally. But for some people, bad breath is a daily problem, and they struggle to find a solution. Approximately 30% of the population complains of some sort of bad breath. Halitosis (Latin for “bad breath”) often occurs after a garlicky meal or in the morning after waking. Other causes of temporary halitosis include some beverages (including alcoholic drinks or coffee) and tobacco smoking.
What Causes Bad breath?
- Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums, and tongue. Also, bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue, will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell. Strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem. So, it is very important to brush your teeth correctly and regularly. This will help keep your breath smelling fresh.
- The bacteria on our teeth and gums (called ‘plaque’) also cause gum disease and tooth decay One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Again, your dental team will be able to see and treat the problem during your regular check-ups. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.
- Bad breath can also be caused by some medical problems. ‘Dry mouth’ (xerostomia) is a condition that means your mouth produces less saliva. This causes bacteria to build up in your mouth and this leads to bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by some medicines, by salivary gland problems or by continually breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. Older people may produce less saliva, causing further problems.
- Smoking, and tobacco products in general, are known to cause poor breath. In addition, smoking can stain your teeth and put you at risk for many health issues. People who use tobacco have a higher risk for gum disease. This can potentially contribute to bad breath.
- gently brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day for 2 minutes
- use a fluoride toothpaste.
- gently clean your tongue once a day using a tongue scraper or cleaner
- clean between your teeth with interdental brushes or floss at least once a day
- get regular dental check-ups.
- keep dentures clean and remove them at night.
- use sugar-free mints or chewing gum after having strong-smelling food and drinks.
- try using an antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste.