Bad breath or halitosis is a common problem that can affect anyone at any age. About one in four people are thought to have bad breath. A new study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene looked at the impact of bad breath in relation to people’s quality of life and on average found that people who suffer from bad breath were found to be less confident as those who didn’t. Individuals who suffer from bad breath say that it can have a negative impact on them psychologically in areas such as communication and self -esteem.
Getting rid of bad breath is relatively easy to achieve. It is a common problem and there are many different causes, it’s not always down to what you have just eaten! A simple test to find out if you have bad breath is to lick the inside of your wrist with the back of your tongue and wait a few seconds until the saliva dries. If the wrist smells unpleasant the its likely the breath will too.
Causes of Bad Breath
- Smelly gases released by bacteria that coat the teeth, gums and tongue.
- Food trapped between teeth can rot and cause an unpleasant smell.
- Gum disease and tooth decay are caused by the same bacteria that causes halitosis. Having bad breath all the time or a bad taste in your mouth are warning signs of gum disease.
- Poor oral hygiene.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Dry mouth (also called xerostoma) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks. If not removed they decompose and cause bad breath. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems or continuous breathing through the mouth.
Preventing Bad Breath
- Good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and don’t forget to brush the tongue as well! Replace toothbrush every 2 to 3 months and use floss or interdental cleaners to remove food particles once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly.
- Mouth wash or sugar free chewing gum which can stimulate saliva which washes away food particles and bacteria.
- See a dentist and hygienist regularly.
Who Treats Bad Breath?
In most cases your dentist can treat bad breath. If the bad breath is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your doctor. If the odour is due to gum disease then you could be referred to a periodontist who treats gum conditions.
Please feel free to call the Mayhill Dental Centre on 01600 712020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or advice.