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What are the different causes of bad breath?

Ever noticed that your breath might be a little on the smelly side? We’re not just talking in the morning, either, but just in day-to-day life? About 1 in 4 people in the UK are thought to experience this on a regular basis, which can really put a downer on personal relationships and confidence. What are the causes of bad breath, and how can we treat them?

Smoker’s breath

Smoking has an array of side effects that we’re all very familiar with. Once thought to be healthy many, many moons ago, it’s now well-known that smoking badly damages your health. ‘Smoker’s breath’ occurs because the smoke particles linger in our lungs after a recent cigarette. These particles collect in our lungs so that each exhale, cough, or laugh dislodges them and forces them out on our breath. Because these particles tend to collect over time and hang around in the soft, spongy tissue of our lungs, smoker’s breath often smells stale and of old smoke. Cutting back on smoking definitely improves the smell of your breath, but it’s no secret that it will benefit the rest of your health too.

Foods and garlic breath

After a meal heavy in garlic and other strong flavours, your breath could be tainted by their faint aroma for a little while. This is because your saliva contains the digestive enzyme called amylase, which begins to break your food down while you’re chewing it. About 30% of starch digestion takes place in your mouth thanks to your saliva, so the smell of the sugars and digestion often lingers. When we eat foods with strong odours like onions and garlic, they need to be fully processed by our body in order to shed their strong smell. In fact, garlic has such a strong odour that you can often smell it in your sweat and even on your feet the day after you eat it!

Poor dental hygiene

When you neglect your dental hygiene routine, you’re letting food debris build-up in your mouth. Whether this be sugars resting on your tongue, food between your teeth, or an acidic drink still latching onto your teeth surfaces, you’re asking for trouble. Foods that are partially broken down by your saliva release sugars which attract bacteria. When these bacteria feast on the debris, they release a toxin that not only damages your protective enamel but also smells foul. Even leaving acids and sugars from drinks that might not leave visible debris can taint your breath. Keeping up with brushing and flossing is essential to keeping your breath fresh, and you’ll also be helping keep your teeth strong and healthy too.

How to treat bad breath

Bad breath is preventable, so we’re going to tell you exactly how to both prevent and treat it in order to keep your mouth and teeth fresh.

  • Don’t skip out on brushing your teeth. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs as dentists if we didn’t remind you to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and try a mouthwash or brushing your tongue too. Removing food debris is essential to keeping your teeth healthy and your breath unmarred. An anti-septic mouthwash well help fight bacteria levels in your mouth, and toothbrushes with textured tongue panels on the back will help clean away residual sugars. You should also replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months to avoid reintroducing bacteria to your mouth.
  • Visit your dentist and dental hygienist. Some professional teeth cleaning from your dental hygienist will do wonders for your teeth’s natural shine, dental health, and breath. At these regular appointments, we can also spot any warning signs of underlying dental health issues.
  • Drink lots of water. Another easy step to preventing smelly breath is to drink lots of water. This keeps your mouth moist and helps to wash away food and drinks particles that may otherwise make their home in your teeth surfaces. A dry mouth gives particles, food or odour, plenty of grip to stick around, so keep all surfaces lubricated to lessen your chances of bad breath.

If you’re worried about your breath, dental health, or would like to receive some friendly advice on how to maintain a healthy mouth, get in touch with us at Harwood Dental Care in Bolton. Enquire online or speak to a friendly member of the team on 01204 304568 to book your dental hygienist or check-up appointment today!

To find out more ways you can benefit your dental health, you can read one of our blogs about how you can beat your sugar addiction for better health.

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