Bad breath is a common condition, which is also known as halitosis. It is estimated that around half the population will suffer from a period of persistent halitosis at some point in their lives.
What causes bad breath?
In many cases, bad breath is a result of poor oral hygiene, but it may also be caused by bacteria which thrive on food deposits that remain in the mouth after eating. Halitosis can also be a symptom of gum disease. Often, people experience bad breath in the morning; this is mainly due to the mouth drying out overnight, as the saliva is usually responsible for washing bacteria away. Certain foods can affect breath; strong flavoured foods such as garlic and onions and drinks like tea and coffee can also contribute to unpleasant smelling breath.
Other possible causes of bad breath include:
- Certain medications, including medicines to treat angina (called nitrates) and chemotherapy medication
- Health conditions, including bronchitis, sinusitis and diabetes
- Crash dieting
What can be done to treat bad breath?
Improving standards of oral hygiene will help to improve the vast majority of cases of bad breath. This involves brushing and flossing the teeth twice a day and rinsing the mouth regularly with antibacterial mouthwash. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly.
Preventing bad breath
There are a number of simple steps you can take to try and prevent bad breath; these include:
- Brush teeth twice a day
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash
- Floss regularly
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthily
- Brush your tongue as well as your teeth
- Chew sugar-free gum or eat mints after eating
- Attend regular check-ups with your dentist