Halitosis or bad breath is most commonly caused by infrequent, or ineffective, brushing and flossing.
Practising good oral hygiene is a crucial first step in treating halitosis.
Here are some steps you can take to treat and prevent bad breath:
- brush twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and be sure to floss daily – flossing will help remove the bacteria that your toothbrush can’t reach!
- brush your tongue (a tongue scraper may also be used)
- stay hydrated to prevent your mouth from drying out
- chew sugar-free gum between meals (this will help to clear food from your mouth and increase your saliva flow).
- minimise intake of strongly scented foods and drinks, such as coffee, alcohol, garlic and onion.
- if you are a smoker, ask your dental professional for assistance in helping you to quit.
- schedule six-monthly professional dental cleans and checks with your dental hygienist or dentist.
If bad breath persists, your dentist or hygienist can help with a diagnosis and provide information on how you can reverse it. If we suspect that the malodour is systemic, we will also point you in the direction of someone who can help you identify and overcome this.
Call the Smile Solutions reception team on 13 13 96 to make an appointment for a thorough clean with one of our dental hygienists.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no one treatment for halitosis, as the treatment will depend on what is causing the problem.
Dry mouth (“xerostomia”) is one of the leading causes of halitosis. Saliva has an important role in helping to clear away food and debris from your mouth after eating. If you are not producing enough saliva, this cleansing action is limited and food may be left in your mouth.
The kinds of food and drinks you consume can also give you bad breath. Generally, these foods or drinks will only cause bad breath for as long as they are in your system. The aromas in foods such as garlic and onion, or drinks such as coffee or alcohol, are absorbed into the bloodstream where they are then transferred to the lungs. Once here, the scent can freely escape through your mouth when you breathe.
If you are a smoker, this can also be contributing to bad breath. Smoking not only dries up your saliva but also causes an accumulation of bacteria in your mouth. The smoke and its associated chemicals are also inhaled deep into your lungs, which allows the scent to be later exhaled when you breathe.
People with chronic sinusitis may find the use of a saline nasal spray helpful. A course of antibiotics, effective against anaerobic bacteria (such as metronidazole, to reduce the overgrowth of sulphur-producing bacteria), may also help.