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BAD BREATH: 10 tips to beat it

Bad breath is a passion killer and is something many of us worry about. 

Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is mostly caused by sulphur-producing bacteria. These bacteria release smelly gases and can be found on the surface of the tongue, between the teeth and even the throat. Halitosis can also be caused by some medical conditions, particularly those that are gastrointestinal or chest related infections. In these cases, we would advise seeking advice from a doctor.  Once the infection has been cured, the associated smell should disappear too. 

Bad breath can be caused by poor dental and lifestyle habits, leading to self-consciousness and anxiety.  So here are our top 10 tips to beat it: 

  1. Staying hydrated– Saliva production is reduced when you become dehydrated. This means bacteria and leftover food particles are not flushed from your mouth, allowing the breakdown of bacteria and debris, creating an unpleasant odour.  
  2. Floss daily– Food particles can get trapped in between teeth and stagnate, causing bad breath. Flossing once a day will prevent this.  
  3.  Clean your tongue– The tiny bumps on your tongue are called papillae, and they are great at trapping odour producing bacteria. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to clean your tongue to avoid the build-up of these bacteria.  
  4.  Brush twice a day– This physically removes plaque, which is a buildup of bacteria and food debris and the formation of tartar- all of which cause bad breath. If you suffer with halitosis, your dentist may prescribe a special toothpaste with anti-microbial properties.  
  5.  Use mouthwash – Rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least twice daily, between meals. Antiseptic mouthwashes kill bacteria that cause bad breath and are often flavoured with mint which freshens your breath. 
  6.  Quit smoking– not only does smoking cause an unpleasant mouth odour, it also increases your risk of gum disease which also causes bad breath.  
  7.  Clean your appliance – Keep dentures or removable orthodontic appliances clean by brushing them gently with a toothbrush, and where indicated, remove them at night. You can purchase appliance cleaners from supermarkets, pharmacies or your dental practice, your dentist can advise you on the best ones to buy. 
  8.  Improve your diet – Avoid strong smelling or spicy food and drink such as spices, garlic or coffee and alcohol, these can temporarily make your breath smell. Reducing your sugar intake will help to improve your oral and general health too. 
  9.  Chew gum – Chewing sugar free gum stimulates the production of saliva, which reduces dry mouth. Gum is not advised to those wearing braces though – this can cause breakages! 
  10.  Avoid crash dieting – Fasting and low-carb diets can lead to bad breath due to the breakdown of fats producing ketones, which have a strong odour. 

Visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and regular dental cleans with your hygienist can help to maintain a healthy mouth and to keep bad breath at bay!  

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