Halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, can be an embarrassing problem. Have you noticed people stepping away from you when you start to talk? Do people turn their cheek when you kiss them goodbye?
You may have bad breath without realising it. If you think you might have bad breath, you probably do.
There are many causes of bad breath. The good news is that it can often be prevented with a few simple steps.
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. The mouth is the source of over 90% of all malodours. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue. Also, bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will rot and can sometimes cause an unpleasant smell.
Certain foods like garlic, onions and coffee can add to the problem. It is very important to clean your teeth correctly and regularly. This will help keep your breath smelling fresh.
The bacteria on our teeth and gums (called ‘plaque’) also cause gum disease and tooth decay. One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
Bad breath can also be caused by some medical problems. 'Dry mouth' (xerostomia) is a condition that means your mouth produces less saliva. This causes bacteria to build up in your mouth and this leads to bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by some medicines, by salivary gland problems or by continually breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. Older people may produce less saliva, causing further problems.
If you suffer from dry mouth, we may be able to recommend or prescribe an artificial saliva product. Or we may be able to suggest other ways of dealing with the problem.
In a small percentage of cases, bad breath could be a sign of a medical disorder, such as infection of the throat, nose or lungs; chronic sinusitis; bronchitis; postnasal drip; diabetes; gastrointestinal disturbance or liver or kidney problems. If we find that your mouth is healthy, we may refer you to your family doctor or a specialist to find out the cause of your bad breath.
Yes. Tobacco causes its own type of bad breath. As well as making your breath smell, smoking causes staining and loss of taste, and irritates the gums. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from gum disease and also have a greater risk of developing cancer of the mouth, lung cancer and heart disease.
If you do have bad breath, you will need to start a routine for keeping your mouth clean and fresh. Regular check-ups will allow your dentist to watch out for any places where plaque is caught between your teeth. We will be able to clean all those areas that are difficult to reach. We will also be able to show you the best way to clean your teeth and gums, and show you any areas you may be missing, including your tongue.
To keep your breath fresh, you must get rid of any gum disease, and keep your mouth clean and fresh. If you do have bad breath, try keeping a diary of all the foods you eat and list any medicines you are taking. Take this diary to your dentist, who may be able to suggest ways to solve the problem.
You should not use a mouthwash just to disguise bad breath. So, if you find that you are using a mouthwash all the time, talk to your dental team. There are many mouthwashes that are specially formulated to help prevent bad breath and gum disease. Some mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine, and are recommended for gum disease, can cause tooth staining if you use them for a long time. It is important to read the manufacturer's instructions or ask how to use them. We would recommend either CB12 or UltraDEX mouthwash for patients who feel they suffer from bad breath.
It is just as important to clean dentures as it is to clean your natural teeth. Bits of food can become caught around the edges of dentures and clasps, and the food can rot if you do not clean them thoroughly.
You should keep a separate toothbrush for cleaning your dentures. The general rule is: brush, soak and brush again. Clean your dentures over a bowl of water in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking them, to help remove any bits of food.
Soak the dentures in a specialist cleaner for a short time and then brush the dentures again. Brush them like you would brush your natural teeth.
Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which fits against your gums. If you notice a build-up of stains or scale, have your dentures cleaned by your dentist/ hygienist. We recommend a small- to medium-head toothbrush, or a specialised denture brush if you can get one.
We probably all know someone who has bad breath, but very few people feel brave enough to discuss the problem. It is obviously a very delicate matter to tell someone they have bad breath.
There is always the risk that they will be offended or embarrassed and may never speak to you again! However, it is always worth remembering that the bad breath may be caused by any number of problems. Once the person knows they have bad breath, they can deal with whatever is causing it.
You could try talking to their partner or a family member, as the bad breath may be caused by a medical condition which is already being treated. You may like to leave a leaflet where the person is likely to see it. We can provide you with one if you need it.
Our most up to date hours can be found on our Google page.
There is someone available at reception Mon-Fri 8am- 6pm, Sat 10am-1pm to answer telephone calls. Telephone calls may or may not be answered outside of these times.