Bad Breath

bad-breath

A lot of people worry that they have bad breath or ‘halitosis’. A family member might comment, or you may just feel like your breath is stale. An easy way to tell is to lick the back of your hand and smell. Alternatively, you can ask someone you can trust to be honest. There are a few causes of bad breath. One of the most common is gum disease. Either gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums or periodontitis that is a more serious condition that affects the ligament holding your teeth in your jaw. You may also have a build up of tartar or calculus or just have an area food is getting stuck between your teeth.

The way to avoid bad breath from your mouth is to employ excellent oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day and cleaning between the teeth once a day with either floss, interdental brushes or water/air flossers. It may also be worth booking in for a clean and a check of your gum condition with your dentist. There are some areas you won’t be able to clean with floss or a toothbrush (under the gum line) so a thorough clean at the dentist may be needed. Also, an early diagnosis of periodontitis means that a dentist can treat the condition before the gum health deteriorates further.
Another common cause of bad breath is having a dry mouth (xerostomia). With reduced saliva in your mouth, food debris sticks around longer and can lead to bad breath. There are a few common causes of dry mouth. Firstly if you are dehydrated, so make sure you have enough to drink throughout the day. Also, make sure you increase your fluid intake if it is a hot day, you do exercise or eat salty food. Secondly, one of the biggest causes of a dry mouth is medication. Nearly all medications can cause a dry mouth, so if it is feasible, you can ask your doctor if alternatives are available. However, a change in medication is not always possible. Also, there are causes of dry mouth that are not reversible if you have had radiation to the head or suffer from certain auto-immune disorders. If this is the case, there are some management techniques you can use. A lot of people find it useful to sip water regularly. There are ‘Biotene’ products available that act as an artificial saliva. Also, you can chew sugar-free gum to try and stimulate some extra saliva flow.
You can also get bad breath from smoking or just eating too much garlic. The best way to avoid this is not to smoke or eat garlic but that is not always possible. The next best thing would be to brush your teeth thoroughly and floss. Plus gargle with some mint mouthwash. Then make sure you keep your saliva’s protection high by staying hydrated. Plus chew either a xylitol pastil (helps keep plaque levels down) or sugar- free gum. If you are a heavy smoker, you will need to book more regular check-ups and cleans with your dentist. You are at a higher risk of gum disease plus the tobacco can build up on your teeth.

 

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