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Bad Breath

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A Guide to Bad Breath

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is something that affects a high number of individuals, but that does not make the condition any less unpleasant. It occurs when individuals have a foul smell inside their mouth and is usually caused by inadequate oral hygiene.

Many instances of this issue are fairly normal, such as when a person has consumed foods containing a lot of garlic or drink certain beverages.

In addition, it usually affects patients first thing in a morning or shortly after they have smoked a cigarette – but these cases are usually temporary.

What are the symptoms?

While some individuals may get used to their bad breath over time, this can make it more difficult to identify. In other cases, people’s reactions are one of the telltale signs they have bad breath.

People should also look out for the following symptoms:

  • Mouth infections – including pus between teeth, swollen gums, sores and loose pearly whites
  • An abundance of plaque
  • Dryness of the mouth, as well as difficulty swallowing, speaking and a burning sensation in the mouth
  • Respiratory infections and medical conditions like diabetes or kidney, lung or liver disorders

How is the problem diagnosed?

Many people will find other individuals have pointed out the issue before they notice it themselves, so asking a friend to give their honest opinion can lead to a speedy diagnosis. This also applies to dentists, who are able to identify problems before untrained individuals.

Those members of the public who have contracted halitosis as a result of poor dental hygiene can receive advice and tips on the condition from their professional practitioner during regular appointments.

What are the causes of bad breath?

  • Smoking – The breath is likely to smell of tobacco products after a cigarette, while this can also lead to the development of gum disease
  • Diet – People who consume a diet that is low in carbohydrates are at risk, as well as items that are spicy, certain vegetables and some drinks like coffee and soda can also contribute
  • Bad oral hygiene – Some 90 per cent of halitosis cases are caused by bad breath. This happens when people chew food, which is broken down by a natural bacteria in the mouth. When food remains lodged between teeth, it rots over time and leads to halitosis.
  • Gastritis – Individuals who suffer from stomach problems such as reflux and gastritis are susceptible to bad breath
  • Dryness of the mouth – When the flow of saliva is hampered, bad bacteria is able to accumulate in the mouth, which can lead to an unpleasant taste and smell. This can be caused by certain cardiac drugs, blood pressure medications, calcium blockers and anti-allergy medications
  • Cavities – Members of the public who have holes in their pearly whites are likely to identify bad breath among their symptoms
  • Age – Young people and older generations are more likely to develop halitosis, as well as those who are physically disabled and unable to maintain their oral health themselves
  • Dental appliances – Wearing braces, dentures or other fixtures that do not fit in place properly can also result in the development of this problem

What treatment should I seek for bad breath?

The most widely recommended treatment for individuals with bad breath is an effective oral hygiene routine, which can be advised by a dental professional and include tips on how to clean their pearly whites better and teaching improved flossing methods.

Patients should use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a nylon bristled toothbrush that should be replaced every three months, as well as a tongue scraper to rub the tongue and an anti-bad-breath mouthwash.

How can I prevent bad breath?

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene routine
  • Remove appliances such as dentures every night and clean before inserting them into the mouth again
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Reduce alcohol and coffee intake
  • Keep up a healthy diet that is rich in nutritious fruit and vegetables
  • Wash mouth after eating dairy products and meat
  • Book regular appointments with a dental professional.

Pearl Dental Clinic is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. You can book an appointment by calling us on 0208 547 9997 or emailing us or booking an appointment online

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