Bad breath – a common oral hygiene complication

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Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common condition across the UK, affecting 96% of people in some shape or form.

face of beautiful woman covering her mouth

There are many different causes of bad breath including:

  • A bacterial infection such as tonsillitis.
  • Some forms of medication cause a dry mouth which in turn, leads to bad breath. This is because your mouth is not able to produce as much saliva to wash away the bacteria. This bacteria is then allowed to multiply and cause an unhealthy environment in your mouth.
  • Pieces of food that become lodged in the gaps in your teeth can also cause bad breath if they are left to linger. These can be removed by using floss and mouthwash, in addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, for 2 minutes each time. Strong foods such as garlic, onion and coffee can be particularly pungent on your breath.
  • Certain medical conditions cause bad breath, particularly complications with your kidneys and lungs.


How can I prevent bad breath?

  • If you have gum disease, your first action should be to seek treatment for this, as this is likely to be the cause of our bad breath.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth – this is much more effective than regular tooth paste at removing bacteria from inbetween your tooth gaps.
  • Use interdental brushes or floss once a day. Did you know that brushing alone only cleans 60% of your tooth surface?
  • Clean your tongue regularly, as strong foods such as onions and garlic can catch onto your tongue and cause bad breath.

Closeup of a young woman sticking out her tongue.

Saliva and the battle against bad breath

Why is saliva so important in keeping bad breath at bay? Saliva helps wash away food particles and food particles. When you’re asleep, your salivary glands slow down the production of saliva, which allows bacteria go grow in your mouth.


How can my dentist help?

Your dentist will help identify any potential problems. Your dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar coating your teeth. Your dentist can treat signs of gum disease by cleaning and root debriding. Identifying any ill-fitting crowns and bridges can cause food to become trapped in between the gaps in your teeth, which can also be a cause of bad breath.