Oral health

Bad breath

Symptoms of bad breath (halitosis) may be present due to a number of causes.

Poor oral hygiene is a significant factor, due to bacteria build-up on your teeth. If you are not flossing every day, old food particles hide in between your teeth collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. The bacteria play a part in gum disease and tooth decay. The smelly gases released by the bacteria also coat your gums and tongue.

The best way to treat bad breath is to improve your oral health through:

  • Maintaining dental visits
  • Brushing twice a day, for two minutes at a time, with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Brushing your tongue
  • Flossing.

If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist who will be able to help you identify the cause.

Causes of bad breath: breakdown

  • Food ­– you are what you eat. Foods with a strong odour can cause bad breath. Once the food has been digested, it enters your bloodstream, which is carried to your lungs. This can affect your breath
  • Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) – saliva assists in the cleaning of the mouth and acts as a buffer to neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. A dentist may be able to prescribe you with artificial saliva which can help moisten the oral tissues and lessen the discomfort caused by dry mouth
  • Tobacco products are a cause of bad breath. Not only this but smoking can lead to tooth staining, gum disease and tooth loss
  • Medications – many medications have unfortunate side effects such as dry mouth
  • Other conditions – infections of the nose, sinuses or throat can also cause bad breath.