Bad breath causes so much embarrassment and anxiety, there are countless products to combat it: flosses, washes, gums and tongue scrapers!
OMG! Why do I have bad breath?
Finding the cause of the problem is key – prior to buying up big at the pharmacy. The majority of bad breath is caused by factors within the mouth, which also leaves a number that have external triggers.
Halitosis: from causes inside the mouth
- Easy culprits are are spicy foods – such as onions, garlic, curries – that can be produce odours even hours after being eaten.
- Smoking also can have a lasting effect on the breath – up to a number of days following the last cigarette!
- A dry mouth – think of ‘morning breath, or after a. lot of coffee. Saliva flow is restricted when we sleep,or if dehydrated. This can be remedied with a drink of water or brushing the teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates cleansing saliva flow can also help.
- Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate or infrequent removal of plaque and associated bacteria can cause halitosis. Particular attention is required to keep dentures and removable plates clean.
- An abscess or infection of a tooth or throat infection
- Periodontal, or gum, disease causes inflammation and pockets of infection within the gums. This can produce foul odours, and sometimes tastes.
Extra-oral sources of bad breath
- A sinus infection
- Ageing can reduce the quality and quantity of saliva and lead to mouth dryness and smelly breath even with good oral hygiene.
- A dry mouth can also have causes from outside the mouth. Certain medications are known to be potential culprits, as well as some general systemic diseases (including kidney or liver diseases, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis) Treatment in these cases will be more involved than brushing, rinsing or sugarless gum.
It is clear then, that treating halitosis may or may not be a simple do-it-yourself process. Your dentist, possibly together with your GP, can advise and steer you towards a good outcome.