Bad breath

What causes bad breath?

The most frequent cause of bad breath is bacteria in the mouth. It is important to remember that bad breath is not a sign of ill health and most adults occasionally suffer from it.

Although, gum disease can cause bad breath, people with healthy teeth and gums can still suffer with it. In such cases the smell comes from the back of the tongue and will get stronger, as you mouth becomes drier.

Can my dentist help?

If you are concerned about bad breath, you should discuss this with your dentist. You should ensure that you do not try to hide the smell of your breath in any way, as it will make it difficult for the dentist to distinguish where the problem is coming from.

Generally good oral hygiene will resolve bad breath, so your dentist or hygienist will probably give you a scale and polish to make it easier to keep your mouth clean at home. There are also instruments that can be used to measure sulphur compounds in the mouth or swelling around the gums.

How can I help ?

  • Brush your teeth twice a day and ensure that you use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Your dentist may advise that you use floss. If so, you should smell the floss after you have used it, to check if there is a smell from a particular part of your mouth. This will enable you to take extra care to clean that area
  • If your tongue is heavily coated, you can gently brush it, which should help to get rid of the smell
  • When your mouth becomes dry the smell of your breath will often get stronger. Chewing sugar-free gum will help to reduce this problem, as it increases the flow of saliva around the mouth
  • Smoking can also make your breath smell. Therefore, it is important to try to give up, not only to resolve the problem of bad breath, but to also help you to maintain a healthy mouth and body