The medical name for bad breath is halitosis.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can have a number of possible causes, but it’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene. If bacteria build up in a person’s mouth, it can cause their breath to smell.
Bacteria break down pieces of food in the mouth, releasing unpleasant smelling gas. Any food trapped in your teeth will be broken down by bacteria, causing bad breath.
Persistent bad breath can sometimes be a sign of gum disease.
Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as onions and garlic, can often cause your breath to smell, as well as smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol.
Bad breath can occasionally occur following an infection or illness, or as a result of taking certain types of medication.
Treating and preventing bad breath
Improving oral hygiene is usually enough to cure bad breath and prevent it recurring.
Your dentist can advise on how to improve your oral health and will recommend you:
1. Regularly brush your teeth and gums
2. Floss in between your teeth
3. keep your tongue clean
When to see your dentist
See your dentist if you still have bad breath after making changes to your dental hygiene routine. There may be a medical cause that needs further investigation.
Try not to hide the smell of your breath before visiting your dentist because it will make it more difficult to find out what is causing the problem.
Do I have bad breath?
It is not always easy to tell if you have bad breath. It is likely other people will notice it first and they may find it difficult to tell you.
A simple test to find out whether you have bad breath is to lick the inside of your wrist with the back of your tongue and wait for a few seconds until the saliva dries. If your wrist smells unpleasant it is likely your breath does too.