We all know that certain foods can make our breath smell, but food odours are temporary. Constant bad breath(halitosis) is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, dental factors, or medical conditions including infections in the throat, sinus, kidneys or liver. Heavy consumption of tobacco and alcohol can also cause bad breath.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath smell comes from the release of sulphur compounds in your mouth. Bacteria on your tongue and in your throat react with organic compounds to create odours. Bacteria is activated by
Foods with strong odours
Alcohol and tobacco
Build up of plaque on teeth and gums
Gum disease and yeast infections
Medical conditions such as dry mouth, diabetes, acid reflux and sinusitis
How to prevent bad breath?
Firstly make sure you are following a good oral hygiene routine. This means brushing twice a day for two minutes, then floss or use interdental brushes to remove food particles.
Use a tongue scraper after brushing to remove bacteria. Carefully run the scraper over your tongue in sections starting from the back, and work to the front. Rinse the scraper after cleaning each section. Some toothbrushes also have a scraping surface.
Keep a log of what you eat and drink, and include any medications. Your doctor and dentist can review this log and recommend appropriate treatment.
Cut down alcohol and tobacco consumption. This will benefit your general health as well.
Ensure you are drinking enough water. Average daily consumption should be 6-8 glasses of water but climate, diet and lifestyle habits will influence your intake.
Chewing gum after meals helps remove food particles and encourages saliva production.
Regular dental check ups and cleans. During your dental visit, your teeth and gums will be checked, and tartar will be removed.
Bad breath (halitosis) can usually be treated by your dentist or periodontist if you have gum disease. If your dentist determines that your bad breath is not due to dental factors, you will need to visit your GP for a medical check.