The UK has a bad breath problem. In fact, according to research, bad breath – also known as halitosis – is fast becoming a worldwide oral health issue. Currently, over 25% of the world’s population persistently suffer from the condition.
While almost everyone at some point has experienced bad breath, for many, severe bad breath can be embarrassing and impact social events, relationships and even contribute to ill mental health. The good news, however, is that it can be treated. What’s more, in almost 90% of cases, it can even be prevented.
Let’s get to the science. Published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, researchers state that halitosis is formed by volatile molecules which are caused because of pathological or nonpathological reasons that originate from an oral or non-oral source. A rather wordy way of explaining things. Luckily, they go on to clarify: ‘The source of 90% cases is oral cavity such as poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, tongue coat, food impaction, unclean dentures, faulty restorations, oral carcinoma, and throat infections,’ reads the study.
Now we know a bit more about the causes, the next step is how to treat it, and treat it fast.
While there are many forms of bacteria in the mouth that help protect your teeth from erosion, there is also harmful bacteria that can cause plaque and tartar build up. Drinking plenty of water will help keep you hydrated and increase the production of saliva. Both of which help rinse your mouth and flush away smelly bacteria.
While chewing sweetened gum may, over the long term, potentially cause tooth damage, sugarless gum is a very effective way to help protect your teeth and prevent decay. Not only that, but it’s a great way to reduce bad breath. Chewing helps stimulate saliva production, which will help clean your mouth of harmful bacteria and leftover food particles.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
You should be seeing your dentist twice a year. Dentists will be able to do an oral exam to check whether you have any underlying issues that may cause bad breath such as periodontal disease, dry mouth or gum disease. They will be able to treat and fix the problem before it gets any worse.
Cut Back on Certain Foods – We’re Looking at You Onions
It’s not just onions that are to blame. Garlic can also contribute to bad breath as well as high-protein foods, citrus fruits, spicy foods and even cheeses. Any sort of ‘strong food’ will be broken down into your system causing chemical compounds to be released, which creates imbalances in your stomach and mouth and results in bad breath.
Breathe Through Your Nose
When you can, try and refrain from breathing through your mouth. And why’s that? Breathing through your mouth dries saliva, leaving your teeth, gums and tongue exposed to bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Use a Tongue Scraper
If you’re brushing your teeth, you may as well brush your tongue while you’re at it. There’s good reason to do it, too. Odour-causing bacteria can accumulate on the tongue and will start to seriously smell if not cleaned. A tongue scraper is a quick and easy way to remove any debris from your tongue that may turn into something nasty. If you haven’t got one, use your toothbrush – just make sure you do it day and night. Want to know more about tongue scrapers? Hit the link and let our own Dr Shane Patel talk you through it.
Brush Your Teeth
There’s more to brushing your teeth than a shiny, white smile. Brushing your teeth regularly removes any food particles that may get trapped between your teeth and start to rot – it’s this deterioration that can cause bad breath and decay.
Not only is smoking leading cause for lung cancer, but tobacco also contains sulphur, which react within your mouth and cause a foul smell. Smoking also dries out your mouth, making it easier for bacteria to grow.
Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
While it’s true some citrus fruits contribute to bad breath, foods like apples, carrots and celery actually help clear odour-causing plaque and food particles from your mouth.
Hayley Roberts Lead Treatment Coordinator GDC No. 148999
Lucy Jayne Cartwright Treatment Coordinator GDC No. 142928