Is bad breath wrecking your confidence?

Is bad breath wrecking your confidence?

Bad breath can seem like a social horror but do not despair there are many bad breath cures that actually work, and many bad breathe causes which you can address to solve the problem once and for all. Keep reading, and let Vitality guide you through everything you need to know to solve bad breath, known medically as halitosis.

The most common causes of bad breath

Obviously, almost all causes of bad breath are linked in some way to the mouth and its health, so good oral hygiene is a critical part of curing bad breath. The mouth is packed with bacteria, and any abnormal growth in numbers can lead to unpleasant breath. The bacterium feasts on the remnants of food in your mouth after eating, and it is this that make the unpleasant smell. This means that failure to keep good oral hygiene and clean your mouth regularly is the number one cause of stinky breath.

Gum Disease

There is a more insidious possibility, however. Gum disease occurs when the plaque on our teeth hardens into a form known as tartar and causes chronic gum irritation that leads to the gums receding from the teeth and allowing semi-permanent ‘pockets’ of infection to develop. You may be suffering gum disease if your gums bleed when you brush, if you notice bad breath caused by the infections that seems to have no source, or you notice your gums are always red and irritated. Aside from gum disease, dental issues like cavities and rotten teeth can also contribute to halitosis.

Food and Drink

Some environmental factors can also be causes of bad breath. We all know that certain foods have a smelly reputation. Think garlic, onions, curry and more. Unique factors in their chemical makeup cause certain pungent smells to linger on the breath through the digestive process, but will clear afterwards. Smoking or chewing tobacco is another common culprit. Not only do you pick up the characteristic nicotine stain on your teeth, but it also reduces your sensation of taste and irritates the delicate gum tissue. This, in turn, leads to bacteria and infection.

Dry Mouth

Lastly a dry mouth- whether caused naturally by medical issues, breathing through your mouth, your genetic makeup, or caused by environmental factors- can contribute to bad breath. Saliva is a critical part of keeping your mouth clean and fresh- it washes the surface of the teeth and gums, keeping everything fresher and helping to preserve the delicate pH balance within the mouth that ensures no bad bacteria get a foothold. Take that away, and bad bacteria can flourish.

Bad breath causes aren’t always in the mouth

While we somewhat logically assume that bad breath always has a root cause in the mouth, this isn’t always the case.

The most likely non-mouth-related cause of bad breath would be chronic sinus infection. The bacteria trapped in your sinuses lie behind the smell, and treating the infection will help clear it up. The most noticeable stomach-breath link is caused by GERD, or gastric reflux disease. Due to the acid rising back up your oesophagus, tooth damage and gum tissue damage can easily occur. This, in turn, creates an environment which fosters foreign bacteria- and they, again, bring the stink with them.

If you’ve been given a clean bill of oral health by your dentist, and explored these two common issues, it is possible your bad breath issues may be linked to the onset of certain serious diseases. Whilst you should be aware of this, it is important to note that only a tiny proportion of bad breath is linked to this form of halitosis, so it’s far more likely to be an easily-fixed oral health issue. However diabetes, kidney and liver disease can all present with very specific forms of bad breath as a symptom. This is due to the presence of certain chemical markers at unsafe levels within the body thanks to the disease. Diabetics may smell a fruity-sweet odour caused by ketones, while liver issues can manifest with a sweet musty smell caused by dimethyl sulphide, and a very characteristic ammonia smell accompanies severe kidney issues. Obviously, if you or your dental practitioner spots these tell-tale specific bad breath causes, it is important to seek treatment for the root issue as soon as possible.

What is the right cure for bad breath?

The good news is, most causes of bad breath can be easily cured, giving you back your freedom and confidence. The easiest thing you can do is ensure you are practicing excellent oral hygiene at all times. This includes brushing regularly throughout the day, preferably after meals as well, and you should be flossing daily. Don’t forget to brush down your tongue regularly, either, as it is also a harbour for bacteria. Use your toothbrush, or you can purchase a specialised tongue scraper. If you wear dentures, braces or dental prosthetics, it is equally as important to keep them clean and hygienic to curb bacterial overgrowth.

Be careful when it comes to mouthwash. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating, if you are unable to properly brush your teeth, can be enough to dislodge food particles and rinse away bacteria on the surface of the teeth. While mouthwash can be a critical part of your oral health regime- and a good cure for bad breath- mouthwashes which contain alcohol can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms, robbing the delicate oral tissues of moisture, and inadvertently cause breath issues themselves. Make sure you choose a good product with the help of your dental practice. The recommendation is to never use mouth wash or rinse your mouth after brushing as this washes away the remnants of the toothpaste which is designed to protect your teeth.

Try to change your snacking habits to focus on crunchy foods that promote saliva production- think carrots and celery. Sugar free chewing gum or sugarless candy can also help. Should you have a habit like smoking which is detrimental to your oral health, try to work towards quitting helping cure your bad breath as well as improve your health.

Lastly-but perhaps most importantly- one of the best bad breath cures around is regular visits to your dental practice. A dental deep-clean will help flush gum disease from the mouth, while regular preventative maintenance will keep your mouth healthy and free of infections, plaque and bacteria which can cause bad breath.

Vitality encourages you not to give up if you’re experiencing a bout of halitosis. Bad breath can be cured with the help and vigilance of your dental practitioner, so why not make an appointment today?

This article has been approved by

Dr. Arvin Mirzadeh BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)

Dental Surgeon and Practice Principal

GDC 83757

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