Bad breath, mouth odour, big deal?
Many people (of all ages) have bad breath or mouth odour. Sometimes it is only for a short period, and with others it is persistent. It is estimated that up to 50% of people have smelly mouth all the time. You can develop halitosis even if you brush and floss regularly – in fact, in most cases, bad breath is caused by the gums and tongue – not the teeth!
Bad breath is one thing that you might not notice yourself, and no one finds it easy to tell you. People will avoid you, and you can loose friends easily. It is therefore important that you look out for yourself every morning before you step out… and yes, look out for your good friends too!
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can have several causes:
Most people’s mouth do not smell fresh when they wake up from bed. This is normal. If you brush your teeth before going to bed, the early morning smelly mouth will not be too bad, in fact some people don’t smell at all.
In most cases, bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth breaking down bits of food. Persistent bad breath is often a sign of gum disease. Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as onions and garlic, can cause your breath to smell unpleasant. Smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol can also causes bad breath. Occasionally, bad breath is the result of an infection or illness, or taking some kinds of medication.
What can you do.
1. Good oral hygiene is usually enough to prevent and treat bad breath. When you brush your teeth, try to brush the back of your tongue, where it is harder to reach.
2. Your dentist can advise you on how to improve your oral health and can refer you for further investigation if they think there may be another cause for your bad breath.
How to find out if you have bad breath or mouth odour
1. Get a very good friend to be absolutely honest, but do make sure they are a true friend.
2. A simple test you can do yourself is to lick the inside of your wrist and wait for the saliva to dry. If the area you licked smells unpleasant, it is likely that your breath does too.
If you still have bad breath or mouth odour after ensuring that you are doing your best with your teeth care, you definitely want to speak to your dentist immediately, because there could be an underlying problem that needs immediate attention… So… call your dentist!
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