It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your appearance. It matters not one whit how expensive your clothes or how pristine your shoes. Your hair can look incredible, your makeup can be on-point and your jewellery can be dazzling… But even the most carefully constructed ensemble can be soured by bad breath.
In order to reduce the risk of bad breath we must first get to the causes of it. If you want fresh breath all the time, you need to guard against these 9 causes…
1. Poor oral hygiene
The battle against bad breath needs to be fought every day with good oral hygiene practices. That means brushing twice a day for at least two minutes. You may have been brushing for years with bad technique which can lead to receding gums and excessive wear on your tooth enamel. Book an appointment with your dentist every 6 months for a routine checkup and clean, and ask them to go over correct brushing technique while you’re there.
It also means flossing. Yes, your sink may look like the set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre immediately afterwards (at first, your gums will get stronger as they heal), but it’s the best way to remove food from hard to reach areas that brushing alone just won’t reach.
Plus, bleeding gums are often a sign of…
2. Gum disease
Plaque that’s not removed by brushing builds up in your mouth and becomes a magnet for bacteria. Over time, these bacteria can emit sulphur-type cases which lead to bad breath.
Left untreated, gum disease can even lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis which can lead to abscesses and loose or lost teeth.
3. A dirty tongue
Bacteria can collect on the rough surface of your tongue. As such you should incorporate tongue brushing into your oral hygiene regimen to keep bad breath at bay.
4. Pungent food and drinks
Sorry curry lovers, but pungent foods like garlic, onions and spices can also cause temporary bad breath as can coffee and alcohol.
The good news that if you have good oral hygiene these smells can be quickly dispelled with a breath mint or sugar-free gum.
As if you needed another reason not to smoke! One of smoking’s many ill-effects is that it irritates the gums, causing or exacerbating gum disease that results in bad breath.
It also impedes your mouth’s natural healing processes, making it harder to treat gum disease and prevent it from becoming more serious.
6. Fasting and yo-yo dieting
Empty stomachs and faddy low-carb diets like the Atkins diet (which is hugely problematic) can lead to bad breath. This is because they induce a state called ketosis, where your body breaks down fats and emits ketones, which have a pungent and distinctive smell.
7. Morning breath and dry mouth
Your saliva is a potent antibacterial agent which breaks naturally cleans your mouth and removes decaying food particles. Thus, when you sleep with your mouth open it is unable to work its magic and lead to bad breath. Fortunately, this is nothing that can’t be rectified by a glass of water and brushing your teeth.
8. Oral infection
Gum disease isn’t the only mecca for bacteria in your mouth. Infections such as dental abscesses, mouth ulcers, or infections incurred after dental surgery can all become susceptible to bacterial growth, and bad breath could be a warning sign of something more serious.
See your dentist or doctor ASAP if this takes place.
A bad cold or stomach upset can also cause bad breath. Likewise infections like sinusitis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, bronchitis, IBS, diabetes and other gastrointestinal problems can all result in pongy breath.
Your first line of defence against bad breath should always be your dentist. They can keep your mouth clean and free of plaque while also advising you on correct oral hygiene!