The ‘Secret’ To Fresh Smelling Breath

Looking after your teeth and gums can lead to more than just an appealing smile!

Worried dental patientHave you ever wondered why some people have no particular odour to their breath whereas others make you take a rapid but subtle step backwards when they talk to you close up?

It can be all too easy to presume that someone’s bad breath is caused by what they have eaten, and to some degree, this can be true. Most cases of bad breath that come about in this way are temporary, but for others bad and foul smelling breath can be a long term problem.

For the benefit of patients of your local Ipswich dental clinic, we offer a few thoughts on why you, or those around you, might have bad breath and how this can be changed.

Foods to avoid

There is no getting away from the fact that certain foods make the breath smell pretty stinky. The best known of these is, of course, garlic. This might be great for keeping vampires away but you might also notice that others avoid you at parties if you eat too much of it! Garlic isn’t the only culprit though and a number of foods can cause temporary bad breath. The following are some of the worst culprits:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Cigarettes and other tobacco products that are smoked
  • Tinned fish
  • Curries and other spicy food

This is not a complete list of course but it might be wise to avoid too much of these when heading out to a social function.

Breath fresheners

Whilst a breath freshener or mints might help to improve the smell of your breath, especially when caused by food, it can also give a false sense of security to those whose bad breath is a longer term problem. Where this is the case, dental advice should be sought.

Why see a dentist for bad breath?

The reality is that if your smelly breath occurs even when you avoid foods that might cause it, there is every likelihood that it is caused by poor oral health. Bad breath, or halitosis, is often caused by gum disease, a problem that all too often goes undetected in those who don’t visit their dentist regularly for check ups. The fact is that gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss if not detected and treated in time. It can have many side effects but not in every case. For this reason, you should always see the dentist at the Foxhall Dental Practice every six months for your check up. You should also add seeing the hygienist for reasons which will explain shortly.

So what causes the actual smell? In the case of advanced gum disease, the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth increases and these gradually attack the gums and teeth. As they do so, they expel sulphurous gases which can be foul smelling. The only way to resolve this is to reduce the number of bacteria to a healthy level.

Treating gum disease

There are three things that can be done to treat gum disease. Which one you need to do will depend on how bad your situation is. If your breath is already very smelly, the first option may not be enough on its own and you should seek professional advice from one of our Ipswich dentists. Three possible solutions are as follows:

1 – Improve your home oral health care

This usually works best if the problem isn’t too severe, but should also be maintained following any treatment you receive for it. Making sure that you clean your teeth well twice a day using a toothbrush with healthy bristles is a good start. You should also floss between your teeth and our hygienist will be happy to show you how to do this.

2 – See the hygienist

The dental hygienist plays not only an educational role, discussing with you how to look after your teeth better, but also will carry out a non-invasive treatment known as a scale and polish. This treatment removes most of the harmful bacteria that has hardened on your teeth and the gum line. However well you clean your teeth at home, we recommend that you have this done at six monthly intervals to help maintain a healthy mouth and fresh smelling breath.

3 – Root planing

With improved care, you should not need this treatment, but for those whose gum disease has become advanced, there may be no other choice. If left untreated, the bacteria that leads to gum disease will start to attack the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone that holds them in place. Left untreated, not only are you likely to have symptoms like sore gums and halitosis, but are likely to find your teeth becoming loose and even falling out. Root planing can prevent this but may not work in all cases. It is an invasive treatment that needs to be done using local anaesthetic and should be avoided by improving your oral care wherever possible.

If you suffer from smelly breath and especially if you have done so for some time, we recommend seeing a dentist to start to address this problem. Our dentists and hygienists are available for appointments by calling the Foxhall Dental Practice on 01473 258396.