Bad breath is an embarrassing health condition that affects approximately 30% of people around the world. Most people have had bad breath at one time or another. It is especially common first thing in the morning (morning breath) or whenever you wake after a sleep, and doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with you. However, in some people bad breath is a sign of a problem that needs medical or dental attention.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area. As these bacteria feast on proteins in your mouth, sulphur compounds are released from the back of your tongue and throat causing the foul smell.
Anything that increases the number of odour-producing bacteria in the mouth can make halitosis worse. For example: not cleaning your teeth daily – this includes flossing as well as brushing. Allowing your mouth to get dry – this can happen if you don’t drink enough water or you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.
How do we treat bad breath?
Treatment for bad breath depends on the cause. In most cases, improving your oral hygiene – brushing and flossing more regularly, for example – is all that needs to be done. However, if you have a problem with your teeth or gums, you may need to see a dentist.
In addition, you can go in for professionally cleaning of teeth. Dentists can also provide any necessary dental treatment, such as a filling if there is tooth decay. Your dentist can also advise you on things you can do yourself at home, like use toothpastes or mouthwashes designed to kill bacteria in the mouth.
Once your dentist has checked your mouth and you still have persistent bad breath, your dentist can refer you to a specialist, depending on the suspected cause to further investigate the issue.
How do you prevent bad breath?
The practice of a few, simple, self-care techniques can help to minimise halitosis. There are several things you can do at home.
- Flossing– at least once a day
- Brushing– twice daily
- Finish it with a good quality – Mouthwash
- Avoid foods loaded in sugar and carbs
- However, if sugar is your weakness follow the golden rule of skipping sugary food before bed
- Consider including cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts and milk
- Additionally, crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, carrots and celery can also be beneficial
- Moreover, something as easy as drinking water can also help you maintain whiter teeth. Yes, it’s true more water can flush off the bacteria from your teeth and out of your mouth, thereby reducing the risk of gum diseases and cavities as well as keeping the breath fresh.
All of the above tips collaboratively can help you prevent cavities and dental plaque. It is also equally important to schedule a dental appointment once every six months, to help you spot a problem at the onset.
Dr. Puneet Soratur
Senior Dental Surgeon
Wassan Specialty Dental Center