Bad Breath (Halitosis)
At one time or another we all suffer
from bad breath (Halitosis). For many, bad breath is a temporary
problem, however, if bad breath persists there may be an underlying
cause. If you have persistent bad breath you should speak to your
dentist or physician to rule out any disease and take steps to
prevent a future recurrence.
Causes of Bad Breath
Food. Foods heavy in garlic, onions,
and spices are among the culprits contributing to bad breath. Bad
breath can also be triggered by infrequent eating or food particles
left in the mouth.
Poor dental hygiene. Infrequent or poor
brushing and flossing techniques can leave food in the mouth to decompose. Your
mouth is warm, moist and dark—the perfect place for bacteria to
grow if not properly cared for. It is important to
remember to brush twice daily and floss to remove food particles
between teeth. Bad breath can also affect those that wear dentures; always ensure you clean your denture daily.
Gum (periodontal) disease. Persistent
bad breath is often an indicator of gum disease. Gum disease is
caused by an accumulation of bacterial plaque at the point where
your teeth and your gums meet. If untreated this condition can
continue to advance, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Dry mouth. If you suffer from reduced
saliva flow in the mouth you are more susceptible to bad breath.
Saliva helps clean food particles from the mouth. Without this
added protection bacteria can grow, leading to bad breath and other
dental conditions. Many medications can contribute to dry
Tobacco use. The use of tobacco
products can cause bad breath and increase your risk of
developing oral conditions, including gum disease and oral cancer.
Speak to your dentist for tips to help you quit or visit Quit Now.
Other medical conditions. While rare,
bad breath can also be associated with other medical conditions
such as sinus or throat infections, diabetes and some liver and
What you can do
- Brush, floss and clean your tongue at
least twice a day to remove food and bacteria from the mouth and
prevent dental disease
- Let your dentist know if you are taking
any medications and ask about treatment for dry mouth
- See your dentist to replace broken
fillings (that may act as a food trap) and restore areas of