Does your breath smell?

oral health

You are probably not the best person to answer this question as many people have bad breath without even realizing it.  Somewhere in the region of a third of the population have chronic bad breath and two thirds of the population notice it on other people.  Clearly without some attention your breath may be having a negative effect on your social life, career or even on your general health.

Contrary to a general misconception (and despite what you may read in the popular press), the majority of cases of bad breath begin in the mouth and not in the stomach.

What are the main causes?

  • Poor oral hygiene – a long way ahead of the rest!
  • Gum disease (link to next page)
  • Poor food choices, smoking, fasting
  • Ill-fitting crowns, poor designed bridgework
  • Cracked, leaking and over hanging fillings
  • Poorly cleaned dentures

What should you do about it?

  • Brush your teeth at least twice each day and preferably after every meal.  Switch to a soft bristled brush for most effective cleaning.
  • Develop the “floss habit” – remember: only floss the teeth that you want to keep!
  • Drink plenty of water so that your body remains correctly hydrated.
  • The use of gum, mouthwash or mints may appear to alleviate the problem but will never sort out the underlying cause … others around you will still smell poorly masked bad breath. Try fresh fruit, vegetables, salad leaves or leafy herbs such as peppermint, parsley or sweet basil instead of gum.  Such foods will also do wonders for your diet and reduce cravings for sugary snacks between meals.
  • Visit your dentist every six months.  It may be that your symptoms are related to a dental problem.