Bad Breath–Why, What & How to Fix it.

Bad Breath–Why, What & How to Fix it.

What causes bad breath ?

Bad breath is usually caused by the bacteria that sit on the teeth, gums and tongue as well as food particles that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue. Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, oral infection and dental decay.

One of the warning signs of gum disease is persistent bad breath.

Are there other causes

  • Dry mouth (xerostomia). 80% percent of the top 10 drugs may cause dry mouth. Prominent among these drugs are those prescribed for high blood pressure  & depression, some diuretics. Irradiation of the head and neck region, damage to or disease of the salivary glands can also cause dry mouth.
  • Continually breathing through your mouth instead of your nose also dries out the mouth, reducing saliva flow and increases the risk of bad breath
  • Smoking increases the risk of bad breath
  • Medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs; post nasal drip; acid reflux; sinusitis; bronchitis; diabetes; or liver or kidney problems. Even crash diets have been known to cause bad breath
  • Strong foods like garlic, coffee spices and onions can add to the problem.

How to reduce the risk of bad breath or get rid of it if it develops.

  1. Good oral hygiene by toothbrushing effectively 2/day for 2 mins, with a fluoride toothpaste, daily interdental cleaning and regular tongue brushing can help eliminate most oral causes of bad breath
  2. Antiseptic mouth washes are never the way to mask bad breath and can only be of value in the short term when used alongside regular manual cleaning of all surfaces of your teeth. Some specific mouthwashes are designed to neutralise the acids of bad-breath-causing-bacteria, but all mouth washes work to reduce the bacterial load.  Please keep in mind that some mouthwashes can stain teeth and others contain high concentrations of alcohol. Please read the label before use
  3. Keep dentures clean and remove them at night
  4. Reduce the frequency of sugary foods and drinks
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Dry mouth may be relieved by simple measures such as frequent sips of cool drinks or sucking pieces of ice or sugar-free fruit pastilles. Sugar-free chewing gum stimulates salivation. There are also a number of gels or sprays designed to help your mouth stay moist and comfortable. These can be purchased in pharmacies or online.
  7. Visit the dentist/hygienist regularly  to check your mouth is healthy, review your oral hygiene and remove any build up of tartar on your teeth. If following a dental check up your dentist feels that you oral health is not a contributor to persistent bad breath he/she may refer you to your doctor for further analysis

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