What can I do about my bad breath?

We are sympathetic that bad breath (“halitosis”) can be embarrassing and can put a strain on relationships. The main cause of bad breath is bacteria in the mouth, especially on the back of your tongue. These bacteria produce intense bad odours from foods and drinks (mostly from protein like meat, cheese and eggs). Bacteria can also grow on the back of the tongue as a result of gum disease. Even people with an otherwise clean mouth may get a discharge from the back of the nose, especially overnight. This can gather on the back of the tongue and stagnate.

Other causes of bad breath include:
  • a dry mouth (especially in the morning)
  • smoking
  • unclean dentures

To treat bad breath:
  • Brush your teeth and clean between them with dental floss, tooth picks or interdental brushes.
  • Clean your tongue: The odour-causing bacteria can be hidden under a layer of mucous on your tongue. So, clean your tongue daily using effective and inexpensive tongue scrapers to remove the mucous layer from the back of your tongue. The ideal time is when you first get out of bed.
  • Use good-quality mouthrinses that contain essential oils or chlorine dioxide.
  • Avoid “dry mouth” by drinking more water.
  • Visit your dentist for a check-up, to check the cause of your bad breath (it could be tooth decay, or a gum infection leaking pus) and get your plaque and tartar professionally removed.

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