Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. 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. Strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem. So, it is very important to brush 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 your mouth.
The dental team will be able to see and treat the problem during your regular check-ups. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.
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, the dental team may be able to recommend or prescribe an artificial saliva product. Or they may be able to suggest other ways of dealing with the problem.
If your dentist finds that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family GP to find out the cause of your bad breath.