Bad Breath Bad Breath
Bad Breath


Bad breath, which is also commonly known as halitosis, is a common dental problem affecting a lot of people worldwide today. It is primarily characterised by an unpleasant smell in the mouth.

Table of content

  1. How to tell if you have bad breath
  2. Causes of bad breath
  3. Can my dentist help?
  4. How can I prevent bad breath if I wear dentures?
  5. How can you communicate to someone that they have bad breath

How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath

There are a lot of signs that can help you know if you have a bad breath. Do people move away from you when you talk? Do they turn their cheeks when you kiss them? If the answers to these questions all answer yes, then you have bad breath.

Another simple test you can carry out to ascertain if you have bad breath is to lick a part of your wrist and sniff it. If it smells bad, then you have bad breath. You can also ask a very close friend to be absolutely honest with you — a true friend will be honest with you at all times, so make sure you only ask a true friend.

Causes of bad breath

There are many different causes of bad breath. Persistent bad breath is caused by bacteria, these bacteria release smelly gases in your mouth, and this coats your teeth, gums, and tongues. Also, food particles caught between the teeth and on the tongue can get rotten and produce an unpleasant smell. Strong foods can aggravate the problem; this includes garlic, onions, and coffee.

Brush your teeth properly and regularly, at least two times daily and if you have persistent bad breath, brush it more than twice, preferably after meals. This will help to keep your teeth clean and your mouth smelling fresh.

The bacteria on your teeth and gums are called plaque — they also cause tooth decay and gum disease apart from bad breath. Bad breath is a common warning sign of gum disease; it is also followed by a bad taste in the mouth.

Our dental team will check and treat the problem when you come for your regular check-ups. You should contact a dentist early as the early treatment of this condition will make it more effective and prevent further damages to your gums and teeth.

What else causes bad breath?

Some health conditions can also cause bad breath; an example is xerotomia (also known as dry mouth). In this condition, your mouth is unable to produce much saliva. This leads to the build-up of bacteria in your mouth, and this, in turn, leads to bad breath. Some medicines can also cause dry mouth; they do this by causing problems in the salivary gland.

Bad breath also occurs when you constantly breathe through your mouth and not through your nose. Older people are more prone to bad breath because they produce less saliva and this causes further problems.

If you are suffering from dry mouth, we can prescribe an artificial saliva product for you or give you expert advice on other ways to handle this problem.

Can other medical conditions cause bad breath?

Yes! Other medical conditions can cause bad breath, and they include throat infections, lung infections, nose infection, diabetes, bronchitis, and sinusitis.

If we find out that your mouth is healthy, we can refer you to your family doctor to find out the real cause of your bad breath.

Can smoking cause bad breath?

Yes, tobacco gives its characteristic bad breath and the only way to treat this is to quit smoking. Apart from bad breath, smoking also stains your teeth, irritates your gums and affects the ability of your tongue to taste properly.

There is a higher risk of smokers having gum disease compared to an average non-smoker and they are twice more likely to suffer from cancer of the mouth, lung, and heart disease. Ask your doctor or a general physician for help to quit smoking.

If you have bad breath after you have stopped smoking, come to us for advice, and we will tell you how best to go about this.

Can my dentist help?

Yes, we can help. If you have a bad breath, you need to start a routine cleaning to enable your mouth stay fresh and clean. You can also book regular check-ups with us — this will enable us to watch out for the formation and presence of plaques in your mouth.

We will also clean all those areas that are difficult to reach, and we will advise you and show you the best way to clean your teeth and gums. We will show you areas you are missing in your routine cleaning including your gum.

Can I prevent bad breath?

Bad breath is highly preventable except when it is caused by a medical condition. To prevent bad breath and keep your breath fresh, you have to treat gum disease and practice a good oral hygiene by cleaning your mouth regularly.

It is wise to keep a food diary if you have bad breath — this helps you to keep sound track of the foods you eat and the drugs you are taking. When you visit your dentist for a routine check-up, take this with you and show it to your dentist.

This helps the dentist to suggest ways to solve this problem. Below are ways you can prevent bad breath.

  • Scrub your tongue whenever you brush your teeth — you can use a tongue scraper if possible and also cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
  • Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue in the morning and last thing before going to bed at night using a good toothpaste.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as he/she recommends.
  • Make sure you floss at least once daily, or you clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes. Brushing alone cleans only 60% of your teeth surface. You can also buy other products to clean in between your teeth.
  • Use a mouthwash regularly; some products contain antibacterial agents that can kill the bacteria forming plaque and make your mouth smell.

If you still suffer from bad breath after doing all these, contact our dentist at Harley Street, London and we will make sure these tips and mouthwash are not covering a severe underlying health problem.

Increase the production of saliva in your mouth by chewing sugar-free gum — it stops your mouth from getting dry, and we know a dry mouth leads to bad breath.

Will mouthwash help?

Using mouthwash to disguise bad breath is not advisable. Come to us if you use a mouthwash all the time; there are many types of mouthwash specially formulated for bad breath and gum disease, and we can help prescribe one for you.

Some products contain chlorhexidine, and they are best for gum disease, but they can stain your teeth if you use them for a long time. Ask a dentist how to use them, or you can carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions.

How can I prevent bad breath if I wear dentures?

If you wear dentures, you can prevent bad breath by keeping your dentures clean just as you keep your natural teeth clean. If you don’t clean your dentures thoroughly, food particles can hide around the edges of the dentures, get stuck and rot.

Have a separate toothbrush for cleaning your dentures, and the general rule for cleaning your denture is brush, soak, and brush again. When cleaning your dentures, clean them over a bowl of water peradventure you drop them.

Brush the dentures before soaking them; this will ensure every bit of food is removed and brush them as you would brush your natural teeth. Ensure all the surfaces of the dentures are clean, including the surface that fits against your gum.

Have your dentures cleaned by a dentist if you notice that they are a build-up of scale or stains. Clean your dentures using a denture brush if you can get it or use a small to medium-head brush; this is what most dentists recommend.

How can you communicate to someone that they have bad breath?

We probably know someone or people who have bad breath, but only a few people are brave to discuss the problem. Telling someone that they have bad breath is a delicate matter. There is a high risk that you may embarrass or offend the person, and they might never speak to you again. However, remember that bad breath might be caused by an underlying health problem.

Once a person knows that they have bad breath, they can diagnose the root cause and deal with the problem. You can try talking with their family members or partner so that they can treat the cause of the bad breath.

You can also leave a note or leaflet where the person is likely to see it.

If you are suffering from bad breath and you need dental check-ups, contact our dentist at Harley Street, London, and we will be glad to offer treatment options and professional advice.

Do ensure you reach out to us today on 020 71834091.

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