Common Causes and Solutions for Bad Breath

There are many causes of bad breath — here’s how to ensure yours is fresh and healthy.

Bad breath can be really problematic because you might not know you have it — how to smell your own breath? — but others surely might and may be too polite to tell you. It can linger on for ages, with you having no idea of your halitosis until someone finally dares to speak up and you’re mortally embarrassed.

Bad breath is such a widespread and persistent problem that it’s not unusual for most of us to have it, at any time and stage in our lives — the HSE estimates that up to 50% of people have halitosis for prolonged periods. If you want to know if your breath smells or not, there’s one simple thing you can do: just lick the underside of your wrist and after the saliva has dried, smell the area. If there’s no real smell, you’re fine, but if there’s an unpleasant odour, it’s a sure sign that your breath is not all that fresh and you may need to look at your dental care and hygiene.

What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?

It’s obvious, but definitely worth saying: bad oral hygiene will almost certainly result in bad breath. With its warm and moist environment, the mouth is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive. If you’re not at least brushing your teeth regularly, you’re going to have a buildup of these microorganisms, which coat our teeth and love to feast on food particles — and release foul-smelling gas that’s noticeable to everyone as a bad case of halitosis.

It’s pretty common when you wake up in the morning to not have the freshest of breath, and for good reason: the mouth has dried out during the night because there isn’t all that much saliva, as you weren’t eating, and there’s nothing to wash away the bacteria that may be breaking down any tiny food particles and their unpleasant-smelling gas is produced and lingers. Many food and drinks can cause bad breath, too, as many of us who love pungent garlic and alcoholic drinks can attest. Smokers know the cause of their offputting breath.

Other causes of bad breath include a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, bronchitis and sinusitis, as well as various medications, such as tranquillizers, nitrates used for heart conditions and chemotherapy. And it’s possible that if you’re on a low-carb diet or are fasting or crash dieting, you may also have bad breath because the body releases ketones during the process of breaking down fat, and they don’t smell all that great.

What You Can Do About Bad Breath

The good news about bad breath is that it’s easy to treat and get rid of. It starts with ensuring you’re getting good dental care and hygiene, and if you’re not, you can always look online or elsewhere for your nearest dental hygiene services. Also, examine your teeth-brushing routine and see how long you’re doing it for, and how exactly you’re doing it. You should brush your teeth for at least two minutes — not just a quick brush that lasts a few seconds — and you should be using a toothpaste that has fluoride in it, as it will help prevent a buildup of certain bacteria.

Don’t hold onto your toothbrush until the bristles are all bent over, on their last legs and really not effective at cleaning your teeth and perhaps harbouring bacteria too. You should aim to have a new toothbrush every two or three months. Mouthwashes can be antibacterial and also have anti-odour properties, so you may want to consider one of those — or your dentist might recommend one. A tongue scraper is also a good idea, as bacteria also reside on the rough surface of the tongue. Dentures should be taken out at night and cleaned once or twice during the day.

A solid oral hygiene routine will usually blast bad breath right away.

Book an appointment at one of the three James Clinics today and benefit from top-level dental hygiene services that will have your mouth and teeth sparkling and leave no room for bad breath to develop at all. Make your appointment now.