Bad breath can be a source of embarrassment and low self-esteem, but it can also be a symptom of something more serious.
If your breath has an odour that won’t go away, visiting the dentist could help you to track down the cause and make the problem go away.
Why do I have bad breath all the time?
If you have persistent bad breath (halitosis), this is usually caused by bacteria that build up inside the mouth on the tongue and in the throat. These break down proteins and release sulphur compounds that have an unpleasant odour.
As well as bad breath, other signs that you might have halitosis can include a dry mouth, bad taste in your mouth, burning or coated tongue, thickened saliva or having to clear your throat regularly.
What are the risk factors for halitosis?
Oral health or general health problems and lifestyle factors can increase the risk of halitosis. These include:
- Poor oral health – not brushing and flossing your teeth or rinsing your mouth regularly can allow halitosis bacteria to build up in the mouth.
- Gum disease – inflammation of the gums by bacteria in plaque. You may have gum disease if you have bad breath and your gums are red, swollen or bleeding.
- Dry mouth – dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia) is a common side effect of medications. It can also be caused by stress or excessive alcohol consumption.
- Smoking – inhaling smoke leaves a bad taste in the mouth and in the lungs, which can persist for hours afterwards. Smoking also increases the risk of dry mouth, gum disease and other oral health problems.
How do I get rid of bad breath?
Temporary bad breath may be caused by odours left behind in the mouth by strong-smelling foods such as garlic or onions. This type of bad breath can usually be prevented by avoiding these foods.
If you have halitosis, the best way to combat it is to try to reduce the bacteria in your mouth and improve your oral hygiene. You should:
- drink plenty of water to rinse bacteria and food from your mouth and stay hydrated
- stop smoking and reduce your alcohol intake if these are contributing to bad breath
- brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, using fluoride toothpaste
- brush your tongue as well as your teeth or buy a tongue scraper
- floss the areas between your teeth once a day to remove trapped food and plaque
- use an antibacterial mouthwash if this is recommended by your dentist
- talk to your doctor if you want to change medication that’s causing dry mouth
- keep up with your scheduled dental visits for a check-up and teeth cleaning
See a dentist in Erskineville
If you need to talk to a dentist or it’s time for your check-up, contact our team at Sydney Park Dental. We’ll help you arrange an appointment at our Erskineville dental clinic at a time that works for you.
Call us on (02) 8084 7170 or make an appointment online.
Better Health Channel. Halitosis or bad breath [Online] 2012 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/halitosis-or-bad-breath
Healthdirect. Gingivitis and halitosis [Online] 2017 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gingivitis-and-halitosis