get rid of bad breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing, but it could also be an indication of a more serious underlying problem.[1]

If you suffer from persistent bad breath that won't go away, you should consider making an appointment with your dentist. They may be able to track down the cause and recommend treatments to freshen your breath for good.[1]

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) may be a temporary or ongoing problem. It can have a number of possible causes, including:[1]

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Food trapped between teeth, which can break down and release gases
  • Consuming strong-flavoured food or drink, such as garlic, onions or coffee
  • Smoking
  • Gum disease
  • Certain medical conditions

Knowing what's causing bad breath will determine the most effective course of treatment.

What causes gum disease?

Bad breath is a common symptom of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). Other possible signs of gingivitis are itchiness, tenderness, redness or swelling of the gums, or gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.[1]

Like tooth decay, gum disease is caused by plaque on the teeth. If plaque reaches the gum line, it can cause irritation and later infection. You may be at higher risk of gum disease if:[1]

  • you have poor oral hygiene
  • you have certain health conditions, including diabetes
  • you smoke
  • you're pregnant (pregnancy gingivitis)

It's important to treat gingivitis before it has a chance to develop into periodontitis. This advanced stage of gum disease can cause dental abscesses, damage to teeth and jaws or even tooth loss.[1]

How can bad breath be treated?

Treatment for halitosis depends on what's causing it. Your dentist can suggest the most suitable treatment for your situation. This could include:

Improve your oral hygiene

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You should brush for two minutes each time, using a manual or electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you brush your tongue and gums as well as your teeth.[2]

You should also floss between your teeth once a day to remove trapped food and plaque. Your dentist may also recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bacteria in plaque and help freshen your breath.[2]

Avoid dehydration

Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day will help to rinse your mouth and prevent dehydration, which may help with bad breath. Diuretics such as coffee and alcohol can also affect the salivary glands and cause dry mouth, so should be avoided or consumed in moderation.[2]

If your local water supply contains fluoride, drinking tap water can also help to protect your teeth from plaque. Chewing sugar-free gum can help your mouth to produce more saliva.[2]

Modify your diet

If your bad breath is related to certain foods or drinks, avoiding or cutting down on these could be all it takes to make the issue go away. You should also try to avoid sugary foods and drinks such as soft drinks, as these can encourage the spread of plaque and lead to gum disease.[2]

Quit smoking

Smoking can affect your breath in many ways. As well as the smell of tobacco lingering in your mouth and in your lungs, smokers have an increased risk of plaque build-up which increases their risk of gum disease, among other oral health and general health problems.[3]

Visit your dentist

Your dentist can examine your mouth and recommend treatments to help your bad breath, as well as checking for signs of gum disease or other problems. If gum disease is found, they can recommend home remedies and apply fluoride treatments to help reverse its effects.

If you need to see a dentist in Noosa, contact our professional team at Tewantin Dental Centre today. Call our clinic on (07) 5447 1361 or contact us online.

References

[1] Healthdirect. Gingivitis and halitosis [Online] 2017 [Accessed November 2018] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gingivitis-and-halitosis

[2] Healthdirect. Dental care [Online] 2017 [Accessed November 2018] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-care

[3] SA Health. Dental care - smoking and your mouth [Online] 2017 [Accessed November 2018] Available from: https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/dental+care/dental+care+-+smoking+and+your+mouth