9 Ways to Beat Bad Breath | Mount Lawley Dental
9 Ways to Beat Bad Breath
Oral Hygiene

9 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

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Bad breath (known as halitosis) can be embarrassing, but it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem, such as gum disease or an illness.

Many people get bad breath from time to time, but if it's a regular problem, and everyday remedies such as mints and sprays don't work, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.

Your dentist can determine what's causing the problem and recommend suitable treatments to improve your oral health and your breath.

 

What causes bad breath?

There is no single cause for bad breath, which can be temporary or a symptom of an underlying problem. The most common causes are:

 

Bacteria

Most instances of bad breath are caused by bacteria on the surfaces of the tongue and throat.

When you eat foods containing proteins (such as meat and dairy), these may sometimes be broken down rapidly. This can release volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) that produce a sulphurous odour when you breathe.

 

Gum disease

Gum disease occurs when bacteria build up on teeth around the gums and irritate or infect the gum tissue.

In its early stage (gingivitis), symptoms can include red, swollen or bleeding gums. If you also have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, gingivitis may have advanced into a more severe form known as periodontitis. This is an oral health concern that requires ongoing gum care from your dentist.

 

Dry mouth

Dry mouth is a condition affecting the salivary glands. When you produce less saliva, food particles and bacteria may not be rinsed from your mouth so efficiently, leading to a bad smell.

Dry mouth can have many possible causes, including smoking and alcohol consumption, wearing dentures and certain medications or medical conditions.

 

Smoking

Smoking can affect your breath long after the cigarette has been put out, as residual smoke and tar can remain in the lungs.

Tobacco use is also a risk factor for dry mouth and gum disease that can also contribute to bad breath, among many other health problems.

 

Food odours

Bad breath can sometimes be directly related to the food or drink you consume, particularly ones with strong odours such as cauliflower, garlic, onions and some alcoholic drinks.

The effects of food on breath are usually temporary, but odours can linger if they pass to the lungs through the bloodstream or if you don't thoroughly clean food from your teeth.

 

Other health problems

Bad breath can sometimes be related to problems in other parts of the body besides the mouth, such as acid reflux from the stomach or nasal discharge caused by sinusitis.

In cases, bad breath may be a warning sign of serious health concerns such as diabetes or kidney or liver failure, but this is rare.

 

How can I get rid of bad breath?

When quick fixes don't work, it's time to take a longer term approach to improving your oral hygiene and making lasting improvements to your breath.

Your dentist will personalise their recommendations based on your situation, but general advice includes:

 

1. Brush at least twice a day

Improving your teeth brushing routine could be all it takes to beat bad breath, removing food before it has the chance to release odours and reducing plaque to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, spend two minutes cleaning every tooth in turn on its front, back and biting surfaces. Or better, consider an electric toothbrush for more effective cleaning.

Don't rinse the last toothpaste off your teeth so you can benefit from the ongoing protection of fluoride.

 

2. Floss once a day

Even proper brushing can't reach all areas of your teeth. That's why using floss is an important part of any daily oral hygiene routine, but one that many people skip.

Flossing can remove trapped food from between teeth that might have caused odours as well as reducing plaque to help prevent gum disease.

If you find traditional dental floss uncomfortable or hard to use, your dentist might recommend alternatives such as an interdental brush (such as Piksters®) or water flosser.

3. Brush your tongue

Gently scraping your tongue from back to front at least once a day can remove some of the bacteria that cause bad breath.

You can clean your tongue using the back of your toothbrush or use a tongue scraper. Just scrub lightly to avoid any damage and discomfort.

4. Use a mouthwash

Some mouth rinses can help to improve oral hygiene as well as freshen your breath in the short term, but you should talk to your dentist before you add a mouthwash to your oral care routine.

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol should be avoided, as these may contribute to dry mouth. It's also important to note that mouthwash is only a supplement to brushing and flossing, not a substitute.

5. Improve your diet

Avoiding foods with strong aromas can help to prevent bad breath. You should also avoid eating too much protein and aim to reduce sugar in your diet, which causes bacteria to accumulate and contributes to poor oral health.

Food and drink that's high in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins is good for your teeth. Crunchy fruit and vegetables can also help to scrape food and plaque from teeth surfaces.

6. Drink plenty of water

Sipping water throughout the day and alongside meals helps to keep the mouth hydrated. It can also stimulate saliva production and help to wash away food debris.

Tap water contains fluoride, which also helps to protect against plaque build-up and to lower your tooth decay and gum disease risks.

7. Chew sugar-free gum

As well as temporarily freshening your breath, chewing gum can also promote saliva production if you have a dry mouth.

Make sure it's sugar free gum to avoid exposing your teeth to sugar that feeds bacteria in plaque.

8. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and caffeine

Preventing bad breath is another good reason to quit smoking. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can also reduce saliva production.

9. See a dentist or doctor

A dentist is the best qualified health professional to diagnose and treat oral health problems related to bad breath. You should also see a doctor if you think your bad breath might be related to another condition.

Keeping up with your regular dental check-ups and oral hygiene treatments can also help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent some problems from developing.

See a dentist in Mount Lawley

Worried about bad breath or other possible signs of an oral health condition? Call our team on (08) 9227 8777 to book an appointment at Mount Lawley Dental to find out what your options are.

You can also book an appointment online. Our dentists in Mount Lawley also serve nearby suburbs including Highgate, North Perth and Inglewood.

 

References

  1. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/halitosis-or-bad-breath

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