Cosmetic Dentistry|Dental Care

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath affects us all at some point. For some people it’s a problem they have to deal with every day, whilst for some it’s occasional or temporary, having eaten certain foods etc.

Bad breath affects 1 in 4 of us on a regular basis and from research conducted from different dating web sites, 43% of people stated that having fresh breath is the most important factor when going on a date, above having the right clothes, hair and make-up.

It can affect anyone at any age, at any time of their life. Unfortunately it tends to get worse the older you get. People suffering from stress are more likely to suffer from bad breath.

What actually causes bad breath?

Bad breath (or Halitosis) can be caused by a variety of things. There are 3 main causes of bad breath:

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene
    Bad oral hygiene allows food particles (proteins) to be collected in between your teeth and other areas of your mouth. It is the breakdown of these proteins by the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath.
  2. Food and Drink
    Eating strongly flavoured foods such as onions and garlic, although the effect on your breath is usually temporary. Excessive drinking of coffee can also cause bad breath.
  3. Smoking and Alcohol
    Excessive smoking and alcohol consumption can have an effect. Smoking leaves a stale taste in your mouth thus leaving you with bad breath. It also stains your teeth and irritates your gums.

How can I prevent bad breath?

Regular teeth brushing (at least twice a day) and flossing can help eliminate bad breath. The tongue is the perfect place for bacteria to harbour due to its rough surface, so either brush your tongue with your toothbrush or use a special tongue cleaner. Make sure you include cleaning your tongue in your daily tooth brushing routine.

If you are unsure of the correct way to brush your teeth and keep your mouth clean and healthy then your dentist can advise you. In some instances you may be advised to see a dental hygienist. The hygienist will give your teeth and gums a thorough clean and show you how to maintain this at home using the correct oral hygiene aids. Ideally you should be having an examination with your dentist at least every 6 months to a year depending on what is advised. You should also see the Hygienist once every 4-6 months, again depending on what has been advised, to maintain a healthy mouth. Everyone is different. What is advised for one person isn’t necessarily advised for another.

How can I tell if I have bad breath?

It’s not always easy to tell if you have bad breath. Others may notice but not always tell you. A good test is to lick the back of your hand with your tongue, as far back on your tongue as possible. Wait a few seconds until the saliva dries and smell. If it smells bad/unpleasant then it’s probable your breath smells too.

I see my dentist and hygienist regularly but still have bad breath. What else can it be?

If you are carrying out great oral hygiene care at home, you see the Dentist and Hygienist regularly then it may not be a problem with your mouth. It may be the time to visit your Doctor as the bad breath could be caused by some kind of medical condition. Even the mucus you get in your throat when you have a cold or flu can give you bad breath.

Some medical conditions that can cause bad breath:

  • Patients who have Dry Mouth (also known as Xerostomia) may experience bad breath. Stress can also make your mouth dry. Lack of saliva allows bacteria to build up causing bad breath. Chewing sugar free chewing gum will help with this as it helps create saliva which helps wash away the bacteria and food particles.
  • Lung, throat or chest infections.
  • Gastrointestinal conditions.

Sometimes it’s the medication for conditions that can cause the breath to smell.

Surprisingly dieting can be a cause too especially if you crash diet or fast. Doing this makes the body break down fat producing chemicals called ketones. These can sometimes be smelt.

About Us

Perfect Smile Spa is a well-established dental practice. We carry out Cosmetic Dentistry as well as General Dentistry on a daily basis and our Cosmetic Dentist, Dr Jas Sagoo, has placed hundreds of Porcelain Veneers and Crowns. No matter how big or small your treatment is, we can help you. Free consultations are available to all new patients wishing to discuss treatment and gain advice regarding their concerns.

The practice is easily accessible by car, bus and train with numerous car parks situated around us.

This post is by Dr Jas Sagoo who is the principle dentist at Perfect Smile Spa in Essex.What Causes Bad Breath? was last modified: July 2nd, 2018 by Dr Jas Sagoo