Bad breath is more than just a source of embarrassment. It can impact your self-esteem and make individuals avoid social situations. Bad breath can also signal an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed. In this guide, we will explore how to treat bad breath and prevent it from returning.
People with bad breath don’t always know that they have bad breath. It might take an intervention from a well-meaning friend or family member to bring it to their attention. The rise of mask-wearing in public places may help more people to identify when they have a case of bad breath. If this sounds like you, you might be wondering how to treat bad breath.
How you treat bad breath will depend on the cause, so the first step is to “sniff” out the reason for your bad breath.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by several factors, including:
- Food. Debris left in your mouth after eating can cause bad breath, and some foods are worse than others. Garlic and onions are notorious for causing a stink.
- Poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day, or if you have gaps in your teeth that make it difficult to brush, you may be leaving food debris to decay in your mouth. Your tongue can also be the cause of bad breath. And finally, dentures or orthodontic devices that aren’t cleaned properly can also cause a bad smell.
- Smoking and tobacco products. Smoking not only leaves an unpleasant smell, but it can also aggravate other conditions.
- Dry mouth. When you suffer from dry mouth, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. Saliva is responsible for neutralising the bacteria in your mouth, so if you don’t produce enough, the bacteria can multiply.
- Medications. Some medications can cause dry mouth, which in turn can create bad breath.
- Infections. If you have an infection in your mouth due to tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores, this can create a bad smell.
Once you have identified the cause of your bad breath, it’s much easier to deliver an effective treatment. If you suspect your bad breath is linked to another medical condition or a medication you are taking, consult your GP to find out what steps you can take. Read on to learn how to treat bad breath caused by other issues.
How to treat bad breath
The first step to tackling bad breath is to address your oral hygiene routine. Every mouth is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. If you’re confused about the best way to clean your teeth, a trip to a dental hygienist can help. They will give your teeth a professional clean and give you tips on how to care for your teeth at home.
If you haven’t already, consider switching to an electric toothbrush. These are easier to use than a manual brush and many include a timer so you know how long to brush for. Aim to brush twice a day and follow with mouthwash for a fresher feeling. You should also floss between your teeth once a day. A tongue brush can help you to remove any bacteria build-up from your tongue.
You should also avoid foods that you know will give you bad breath. This includes food that is likely to remain stuck in your teeth, such as sticky sweets. Chewing gum after a meal can help to remove food debris and freshen your breath.
How can a pharmacist help?
If you think your medication might be to blame for your bad breath, a pharmacist can advise you on the best oral hygiene products to use that are specially formulated for dry mouth. This could include Gengigel Mouthrinse to treat mouth sores and dryness, or CB12 oral rinse to neutralise bad odour.
If your bad breath is linked to smoking, your pharmacist can give you support to help you quit. Once you stop smoking, you should find that your breath smells normal again.
When to see a dentist about bad breath
Bad breath can be a sign that your oral health is suffering. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while, it might be a good time for a checkup. You should aim to visit the dentist every 6-12 months to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy. By attending regular screening appointments, your dentist can identify the causes of bad breath early and take action to prevent it before it causes you any embarrassment.
If you need help choosing the right oral health products for your needs, we’re here to help!