Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a common concern or problem for many people, and can have a major impact on their life. Because of bad breath, others may back away or turn their heads and this can cause a loss of confidence and self-esteem. Speaking to your dentist or dental hygienist will help to identify the cause of bad breath and find the most effective treatment for you.

Bad Breath, or Halitosis, is a common condition caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that live within the surface of the tongue and in the throat. It is estimated that 10-30% of the adult population suffers from bad breath.

The treatment for bad breath will depend on what is causing the problem. Smoking, dry mouth, dental infections and nasal or sinus infections can cause bad breath. Avoiding dehydration and good oral hygiene, including daily twice daily brushing and flossing and tongue cleaning is most important. The tongue should be cleaned with a toothbrush or tongue scraper. The tongue should be brushed in a gentle but thorough manner, from the back towards the front of the tongue, keeping in mind that the hardest to reach back portion smells the worst. Other treatments may include mouthwashes, nasal sprays or antibiotics.

Apart from sulphur-producing bacteria, other causes of bad breath are certain foods, such as garlic, onions and cauliflower; dry mouth from alcohol, certain medications or medical conditions; dental factors such as gum disease and poor oral hygiene; and smoking.

Some symptoms of bad breath to be aware of are a white coating on the tongue especially at the back of the tongue, dry mouth, plaque build-up around teeth, post-nasal drip or mucous, morning bad breath and a burning tongue, thick saliva and a constant need to clear your throat, and a constant sour, bitter metallic taste.

The easiest way to avoid bad breath is to have excellent oral hygiene including tongue cleaning and staying hydrated. If bad breath symptoms persist, see your dental professional for diagnosis and treatment.