Most people suffer from bad breath occasionally. However, if it becomes permanent and occurs on regular basis you should consult your dentist or dental hygienist.
Bad breath is usually brought on by the breakdown of proteins by bacteria somewhere in the mouth. However, there are several other possible causes that affect the airways, oe-sophagus and stomach that can also lead to bad breath. Our hygienists have been well trained on how to detect bad breath and its cause.
Factors that affect the mouth and cause bad breath
- Dental decay
- Gum disease
- Food stagnation between the teeth
- Dry mouth
- Excessive bacterial activity on the tongue, possibly due to postnasal drip (catarrh coming down the back of the throat from the sinuses and nasal passages)
- Throat or tonsil infection
- Gastritis and food reflux
- Food stagnation
In rare cases, bad breath can be a sign of a significant general health problem, so it should not be ignored. However, the usual cause is oral, which can often be treated to re-solve the problem.
How can bad breath be treated?
As bad breath is almost always caused by a problem in the mouth, it is helpful to visit a dentist. Do not try to mask the odour before the visit - it needs to be as typical as possible.
If there is any dental treatment required to eliminate disease or avoid food stagnation areas, this will be carried out. If no oral cause can be identified by the dentist or your hygienist, it may be necessary for you to be referred for further diagnosis.
Some people become excessively concerned about bad breath, in which case a psycho-logical professional can help put what may in reality be a minor problem into perspective.
What can you do for yourself?
- Maintain a high level of oral and dental hygiene. In addition to brushing, it is important to clean between the teeth using dental floss or an inter-dental brush on daily basis or as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist and also use use a tongue cleaner and clean right to the back of the tongue.
- Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist. The best time to use it is just before sleeping. Retardex tooth paste, mouthwash and oral spray are great to help treat halitosis.
- Drink plenty of fluids, avoiding too much coffee/tea- as those will dehydrate you
- Clean your mouth after eating milk products, fish and meat.
- Chew sugar-free gum, especially if your mouth feels dry.
- Eat fresh, fibrous vegetables.
- Visit your dentist regularly and have your teeth professionally cleaned as required.
- Petra Holaskova (Dental Hygienist in Twickenham)