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What do I need to know about bad breath?

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If you’re worried you might have bad breath, you’d better check out our quick guide to the causes and treatments – right here.

Bad breath is one of those really difficult topics to talk about. Let’s face it, would you really be the first to tell a friend that he or she had bad breath? And think how mortified you’d be if somebody mentioned to you that your breath was a tad less than meadow-fresh?

But let’s start at the beginning. The technical term for bad breath is halitosis, and it can come about as a result of poor dental hygiene. However, it may also be caused by health problems that have noting to do with your oral health regime.

It’s not something you're born with, and the condition can very definitely be made worse by particular types of food – or other bad habits such as smoking, for example.

Why does food cause bad breath?


No matter what you're eating, it starts to be broken down in the mouth, before being digested and taken into the bloodstream. And from your blood, food eventually makes its way to your lungs, where it becomes obvious in your breath.


This is particularly true of foods with vey strong flavours – garlic being one of the big offenders in this respect. And no matter how many times you may brush your teeth after such strong foods, you only really mask the odour for a short while. Quite simply, the odour won't disappear completely until the food has passed right through your system.


So is there any point in brushing?


Absolutely. Because if you fail to brush and floss regularly, small food particles will stay in your mouth and this will be the perfect setting for bacteria to grow – normally in between the teeth, on your tongue, and around the gum area.


This can cause bad breath – or make an existing condition even worse. So make sure that you never let up on your brushing and flossing regime, and also consider the regular use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. There are lots of them on the market, and your MyDental dentist will be only too happy to recommend a few of the better performing brands.


If you wear dentures, this doesn’t mean that you need to be any less vigilant in fighting bad breath. You need to clean the dentures regularly, as otherwise they’ll provide a nice, warm and moist environment for bacteria to grow in.


What’s the story with tobacco?


Smoking or chewing on any tobacco product is another regular culprit when it comes to bad breath. And even worse, it can stain your teeth badly, and ruin your ability to taste your food – no matter how beautiful it may be.


The World Dental Federation has some excellent material on the topic of smoking and its impact – you can check it out here http://www.fdiworldental.org/oral-health/tobacco/serious-risks-to-healthoral-health.aspx


Any other causes of bad breath?


There are a number of other causes of bad breath, including yeast infections in the mouth, cavities or badly fitting dental appliances such as dental bridge, for example.

Another common cause is a medical condition known as xerostomia – or dry mouth.


Other possible causes include:

  • respiratory tract infections such
  • chronic infections of the sinus
  • problems with your liver or kidneys
  • diabetes
  • postnasal drip
  • chronic acid reflux
The bottom line, however, is that the majority of cases of bad breath are within the control of the patient – and can be relatively easily addressed by ramping up the brushing, flossing and mouthwash regime. And remember, if you have a tooth bridge or braces or any other form of dental appliance, be extra vigilant in brushing in and around them.