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What Can Cause Bad Breath (and how to combat it)

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Bad Breath: Diet

What you eat and drink has an impact on the quality of your breath.

Dehydrating food

Some food and drink dehydrate the mouth. Tea, coffee and alcohol would all fall into this category. Saliva is key in washing away the “bad” bacteria in the mouth, when the mouth dries out and saliva production slows, the bacteria that causes bad breath thrives and multiplies.

Smelly foods

Foods that have a pungent odour are obvious culprits; adding garlic to every meal a common cause of bad breath. Other potential problems include diets high in protein, acidic foods and a diet high in sugar. The bacteria that naturally exist in your mouth feed on these foods, turning good food to bad smells.

Not Keeping Your Mouth Hydrated

The best thing you can do for your oral health during the day is to keep your mouth hydrated.

Always have water on the go, a bottle to sip, and chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva production. These two simple tips will help to maintain saliva levels – the best natural defence to bad breath.

Note: Make sure that the gum is sugar free – sugar is a substance that the “bad” bacteria thrive upon and so chewing gum high in sugar is self-defeating.

Also be wary of putting lemon or orange slices in your water as these citric acids may wear away at your enamel.

Underlying Health Issues

In the UK, most adults will have gum disease at some stage in their life – this likely to be the treatable gingivitis rather than periodontitis, which leads to erosion of bone.
Unresolved issues such as gum disease, significant tooth decay or wobbly adult teeth might cause bad breath, but bad breath in itself could also be a symptom of these problems.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which way you look at this – whether you focus on the cause or the impact, there is an issue here that needs treatment.
If bad breath is the result of a more serious problem then no amount of brushing and flossing is going to solve it, even if you can perhaps mask the bad breath for a while.

Certain Medications

Some medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, decongestants, the contraceptive pill and even certain vitamin supplements could change the way your body deals with certain bacteria, and in your mouth, that means increased risk of gum disease and accompanying bad breath.

The Role Of A Dental Professional

While there are many ways to try and prevent, avoid or minimize bad breath, there are many possible causes and often diagnosing the exact reason for this cannot correctly be done at home. When effective oral hygiene and a good diet still don’t help to improve your breath it may be time to see a dentist and hygienist who will be able to assess your overall oral health in combination with your lifestyle, and provide tailored treatment to get you on your way to a better smelling breath.

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