Having bad breath can have a major impact on a person's confidence and self-esteem
Halitosis, or bad breath as it’s commonly called, is an oral condition caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that live in the gums, tongue and throat. Due to a variety of reasons, these bacteria may break down proteins at a much faster rate, resulting in more sulphur being produced – leading to bad breath.
How is it caused?
Dental hygiene: gum disease and inadequate oral hygiene can promote bad breath by allowing the buildup of plaque. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly will prevent this.
Dry mouth: this may be caused by a genetic condition, stress, mouth-breathing and certain medications.
Smoking: oxygen is the natural enemy of bacteria, and smoking deprives the mouth of oxygen.
Other less common causes are acid reflux, chronic inflammation of the sinus, kidney failure, metabolic issues, tooth cavities, oral yeast infection, pneumonia, bronchitis and diabetes.
Signs and symptoms
- Buildup of plaque around the teeth
- White coat on the tongue
- Dry mouth
- Bitter or sour taste in the mouth
- Thick saliva
Where to get help:
- Your dentist should be the first port of call in the treatment of bad breath
- Your GP – for more serious underlying issues
- Your local chemist
Okay – how do I treat it?
Practice good oral hygiene: brushing, flossing using an antibacterial mouthwash daily, as well as getting a proper scale and clean with your dentist at least twice a year, will help keep the smelly bacteria at bay. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Stay hydrated: you can’t produce saliva if you’re thirsty all the time, and a dry mouth promotes bacterial growth. Saliva also helps get rid of food particles.
Cut down on smoking: ask us for tips on how to kick the habit!
Check with your GP: if you’ve tried all of these and still can’t get rid of your bad breath, you may have a more serious condition that needs addressing.