Help, I have bad breath!

Help, I have bad breath!

There’s nothing more embarrassing than feeling like you have bad breath – or even worse, someone kindly telling you! But what causes bad breath (or halitosis as it’s medically known) and what can you do about it?


First of all, there are several causes of halitosis, here are some of the more common:

• Diet
• Poor oral hygiene
• Improper cleaning of dentures
• Gum (periodontal) disease
• Tobacco products
• Tooth decay or infection
• Dry mouth
• Other medical reasons


So, there isn’t one simple cure to fit all, but we can address the main causes and hopefully find you a solution!


Diet – try avoiding strong smelling and spicy foods and drinks. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.


Oral hygiene – at least twice a day, gently brush your teeth and gums with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. Once a day we recommend that you use interdental cleaning aids such as floss or dental brushes to clean between your teeth. Don’t rinse after brushing – leave all that lovely fluoride goodness to work its magic! Remember to brush your tongue as part of your oral hygiene routine, you can gently use a brush or tongue scraper. Clean your tongue from the back and work forwards to the tip – it may take a little practice but keep going as it’s important.


If you have dentures, remember to clean them too – brush with toothpaste or soap and water to remove food particles (we recommend doing this over a bowl of water or over a folded towel as dentures can break if you drop them onto a hard surface.) Then soak them in denture cleaning fluid to help remove stains and bacteria. Once soaked you can rinse and gently brush once more before wearing again.


Are your gums sore, red or inflamed? If so, you may have periodontal disease (gum disease) which needs to be treated. Visit your local practice where they can offer treatment, guidance on self-care and monitor the disease. It won’t go away on its own!


Do not smoke – we know this is harder than we are making it sound but remember there is lots of help available to help you quit. Speak to your practice nurse or GP for advice.


Have you got toothache, swelling or can you feel a hole in a tooth? Decay and infection can be a cause of halitosis – If you think you have a problem get booked in with your dentist as soon as possible. Moving forward, have a check-up every 6 months to prevent future problems occurring.
Dry mouth – there are numerous causes for dry mouth but quite often it is a side-effect of medication – ask your GP or pharmacist if your medication can cause this problem. Dry mouth can also be caused by other medical conditions – radiotherapy, diabetes, liver problems or even the menopause. Talk to your GP to see if they can help.


Finally, we hope this has helped – please get in touch if you feel that we can assist you!

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