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What causes bad breath & how to fight it

16th September 2019

Whether you’ve just scoffed a packet of cheese and onion crisps or waking up after a night on the gin, it’s fair to say that you’re not expecting your breath to smell of roses. However, if your bad breath issues are becoming a daily battle, it could be affecting your everyday life and confidence, but it doesn’t have to be a problem that you have to live with.

Things that cause bad breath

Smoking or chewing tobacco – Apart from giving you a smoker’s smile (yellow, stained teeth) and causing many other health issues, smoking is a leading cause of bad breath. It can leave your mouth extremely dry which will promote the growth of bacteria.

Bad oral hygiene & gum disease – A no-brainer but a good reminder. Brush diligently, floss and clean your tongue daily and visit us regularly is what we always say! When you skip the above, you allow food particles to remain in your mouth and the bacterial breakdown of these remnants of food can cause odour. In addition, growth of bacteria increases your risk of gum disease. If you use any dental appliances, such as retainers or dentures, clean them regularly. Also be sure to check with us about using mouthwashes, as most contain alcohol, which can cause mouth dryness and bad breath.

Dehydration – Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, so reduced saliva flow can lead to bad breath. This accounts for “morning breath,” which is caused when the mouth dries out during sleep (especially if you are a mouth-breather). However, some people don’t produce enough saliva throughout the day or don’t drink enough water. Another very common cause of chronic dry mouth is because of regular use of medications, so it’s important to let your doctor know if you’ve noticed your medication drying your mouth out.

Certain foods – Remnants of food that remain in your mouth following a meal can cause bad odour due to bacteria growth. Pungent foods, such as garlic, onions and some spices, affect your breath as they are digested and travel through your body.

Things you can do to fight bad breath

Besides the obvious ones like quitting smoking and avoiding foods like garlic when you have a big important meeting or date, try the following:

Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day and floss – Brushing your tongue can also help eliminate harmful bacteria. Flossing can help to eliminate food that may be stuck between your teeth and removing it will stop the food decomposing in your mouth.

Wet your whistle – Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water to avoid dry mouth. Water will help keep the odour under control as it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath.

Chew sugar-free gum after meals – Chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva flow, which will help to wash away food debris and bacteria.

Visit us If you have already practiced the above but still suffer from bad breath, it’s time to pop into our practice and see one of our dentists, so we can check if your bad breath is being caused by a more serious issue.

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