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If you are suffering from bad breath you may feel really embarrassed about having this condition. We will all suffer from bad breath at some point, for example if we have just eaten a lot of garlic, but for the most part bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene.

There is a distinct difference between having smelly breath from the food you have eaten and having halitosis. In this article we will look at the causes of bad breath and what we can do to treat this condition.

Bad breath can be caused by the following:

  • Diet and what you have eaten
  • Smoking
  • Medical conditions
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease

How does diet cause bad breath?

One of the most obvious reasons for bad breath is what we consume through our diets. Eating foods that have a strong odour such as onions and garlic can leave a pungent long-lasting smell in our mouths, and other people can find the smell of this off putting. 

If the cause of your bad breath is down to your diet this can be easily rectified by brushing your teeth after eating or chewing on a piece of sugar free gum to freshen your mouth.

Eating foods that are high in refined sugars can also impact the smell of your breath. If you eat a lot of sugary food and have poor dental hygiene this can lead to tooth decay, which can cause bad breath and leave a horrible taste in your mouth.

Smokers breath

If you are a smoker you are not only jeopardising your long term health, but you impact your daily life by smelling of cigarettes. The smell of smoke will be particularly bad inside the mouth and you may find people move away from you if they catch a smell of your breath. 

Smoking is not only terrible for your general wellbeing and how you smell, but also for your oral cavity. Smoking is strongly linked to a severe form of gum disease called periodontal gum disease.

People that actively suffer from periodontal gum disease can experience halitosis, especially when it’s not treated by a dental professional.

Medications that cause bad breath

Some medications can cause your mouth to become dry which can result in a condition called xerostomia. Xerostomia leads to less saliva production which therefore means that the buffering effect of saliva and its ability to wash away bacteria isn’t effective as the flow is reduced.

Another reason for bad breath can also be due to infections such as respiratory tract infections, sinus problems and even issues with the stomach.

If your medication is causing bad breath, talk to your Dr about the options you have to change your meds.

Bad breath caused by poor dental hygiene

If you have poor dental hygiene your oral health will suffer. If you don’t look after your mouth and teeth you can end up with tooth decay and periodontal disease. These conditions cause  bacteria which in turn causes halitosis which makes the breath smell awful. If you have halitosis your breath will have a very strong odour and you will have a horrible taste in your mouth.

Bacteria which generally resides on the back of the tongue is quite commonly a cause of bad breath. The small fissures allow bacteria to remain in these areas and can increase the chances of having bad odours if not effectively removed.

Food that has been trapped between the teeth is another cause of bad breath. Food that is left between teeth for a period of time will start to stagnate leaving a bad odour within your oral cavity.

How to prevent halitosis?

The most important preventative measure so that you don’t suffer from bad breath is to have good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day with a toothbrush, cleaning between the teeth twice a day with either floss or interdental brushes. Keeping hydrated by drinking water throughout the day will also prevent bad breath.

In some cases, mouthwashes may be advisable, especially ones that target the volatile sulphates on the tongue, however they are usually advised to be used on a short-term basis. Brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper is also recommended.  

Regular dental checkups and visits to a hygienist will mean that you will be less likely to suffer from bad breath. Your hygienist will be happy to advise you on what products, brushes and interdentally aids are most suitable for each individual.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our dentists of hygienists in our clinic in Crays Hill, Billericay please follow this link.