Bad Breath

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

What is bad breath?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a foul-smelling breath commonly caused by a combination of bacteria and breakdown of food in the mouth. Bacteria living in the mouth thrive on food residues after each meal, secreting volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) which smell and taste unpleasant.

Bad breath may be caused by:

  • Certain foods such as garlic and onions
  • Alcohol or cigarettes which restricts saliva flow and increase bacteria count
  • Poor oral hygiene, dental decay or periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth (sometimes related to autoimmune diseases) due to malfunctioning of salivary glands
  • Local infections in the respiratory tract, tonsil stones, chronic sinusitis, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, gastrointestinal disturbance or re-flux
  • Systemic illnesses and medical disorders such as diabetes, lung infections, kidney or liver failures

3 Steps to fresher breath:

Step 1:

  • Remove plaque using a toothbrush and interdental cleaners, such as floss or interdental brushes
  • Invest in a tongue scraper that removes bacteria on your tongue

Step 2: 

  • Increase saliva flow using sugar-free gums or dry mouth products such as Biotene
  • Drink plenty of water during the day
  • Limit coffee, alcohol intake and smoking

Step 3:

  • See your dentist regularly for check up and cleans
  • Consider smoking or tobacco cessation
  • Eliminate foods that may cause more mouth odour and increase green vegetables and fruits intake
  • Seek medical help to exclude respiratory and digestive systems problems

Halitosis may signify underlying dental problems which are often undiagnosed. Consult your dentist to rule out dental decay or periodontal diseases to help preserve your dentition in the long run. Occasionally halitosis is the only oral symptom of a more serious medical disorder; prompt medical attention is therefore highly recommended.

Halitosis also presents a social problem for many people. Some people are paranoid of their breath all the time, and as a result are fearful of becoming close with their loved ones. For the sake of you and your loved ones, book in your dental appointment today!


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