It’s estimated that around a quarter of the world’s population suffers from bad breath.
It’s an embarrassing condition, but can often be treated successfully at home.
What causes bad breath?
If you’re suffering from bad breath, there could be a number of reasons.
Poor oral hygiene.
This is the most common cause of bad breath.
Not cleaning your teeth regularly, or thoroughly enough, causes a build-up of food particles. As these are broken down by the bacteria in your mouth it can create an unpleasant smell.
Bad breath can also be a sign of dental problems, like tooth cavities, infections or gum disease.
Bad breath is a side effect of smoking nicotine or chewing tobacco.
What you eat and drink.
Temporary bad breath can be caused by eating spicy or pungent foods, like onions or garlic, or by drinking coffee or alcohol.
The smell should subside after you clean your teeth.
Some medical conditions.
Bad breath can be a sign of medical conditions, such as heartburn, malnutrition, throat infections or uncontrolled diabetes.
It can also be a symptom of intestinal problems such as ulcers or lactose intolerance.
How can I treat my bad breath?
Start by practising a good oral hygiene routine.
- Brush your teeth and gums twice daily, including once before you go to bed
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with a head that’s small enough to reach all areas of your mouth
- Clean between your teeth daily, using floss or interdental brushes
- Scrape your tongue daily with a tongue scraper to remove bacteria and dead cells
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles start to splay outwards
- Keep your dentures clean and remove them before you go to bed
- Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleaning.
- Stop smoking — it’s one of the best things you can do, for your bad breath and your general health
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth fresh and hydrated
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks — these can cause tooth decay
- Chew sugar-free gum after consuming pungent foods or drinks.
What if I still have bad breath?
If you have followed the above advice for a few weeks and still have bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist.
If you still have questions about bad breath, Dr Saigal will be happy to answer them for you.