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Fresh Breath

How do people know they have bad breath?

106586056The truth is that it is extremely difficult to judge this individually. You may be aware if your halitosis (bad breath) becomes severe.

What are the signs of bad breath?

If you notice people seem to draw away from you in conversation or if a partner seems reluctant to want to kiss you, then you may have a problem!

How can I find out if I have bad breath?

Your friends might not want to tell you but you can find out yourself.

  • Lick your wrist. Leave it to dry for 30 seconds, then smell.
  • Floss between the last two teeth at the back of the mouth. Leave for a few seconds and then smell the floss.
  • Rub the back of the tongue with a finger covered by a dry cloth and sniff after a few seconds.

At Evesham Dental Health Team we make it our business to help people have fresher breath. Bad breath is a common problem and so we are used to helping people with this problem.

If I have bad breath is it always evident?

The degree of severity does depend on the cause. If you have long standing, untreated gum disease, then probably your halitosis will vary from severe to very socially unacceptable. Milder forms of gum disease (Gingivitis) may cause very few episodes of obvious halitosis. If you allow your mouth to dry (which is almost unavoidable during sleep) then halitosis tends to worsen. Some medications will also cause dryness of mouth (e.g. antidepressants, diuretics). Excessive consumption of coffee also worsens bad breath. Frequent consumption of food containing spices and garlic will not cause long-term bad breath but will worsen a bad breath problem. Smoking is a major contributor to bad breath.

Does bad breath always originate from the mouth?

Up to 95% of halitosis is caused by bacterial activity in the mouth. Occasionally the source of the odour maybe from the nasal passages, tonsils or stomach.

Is bad breath treatable?

Absolutely YES! Most bad breath can be treated and then prevented by understanding the causes and then applying thorough and scrupulous methods of cleaning round the mouth. It is also wise to consult with the dental team directly for advice about any dental cause of halitosis, particularly established gum disease (Periodontal disease) or decayed (Carious) teeth. Chronic discharging dental abscesses and chronically infected wisdom teeth need to be checked as a possible cause of bad breath.

Where does the smell associated with halitosis originate?

The most likely cause is the chemical breakdown of proteins in food and saliva by a variety of micro-organisms (bacteria). The offensive odours are due to volatile sulphur compounds (VSC’s) including hydrogen sulphide (H2S), methyl mercaptonm (CH3SH) and dimethyl sulphide (CH3SCH3). H2S is produced mainly off the top surface of the tongue and CH3SH and CH3SCH3 enrich the mal odour from the gums immediately round the teeth (Periodontal Tissues). VSC’s originate from anaerobic bacterial activity (that is a chemical reaction in the absence of oxygen).

Does gum disease cause bad breath?

By far the greatest cause of halitosis is from poor gum health round you teeth. You should consult a dentist about this but you own daily care of your mouth at home will transform any bad breath problem and maintain gum health which in turn will reduce significantly the risk of tooth loss long term. Cleaning of the spaces between teeth is essential each day. Any regime for treating halitosis must include mechanical removal of bacteria and food debris from between and around ALL teeth. You can get a good idea of the degree of any possible halitosis problem by smelling the odour which comes off with dental tape (a type of floss) or interdental brushes. You will notice the degree of this smell reduces as you clean regularly and effectively around your teeth.

Is there an effective combination of treatment to halitosis?

Yes. The combination of cleaning by hand (mechanical cleaning), chemical neutralisation of smells and antibacterial action of specific medicaments will deal with any bad breath problem caused in the mouth.

At Evesham Dental Health Team we have a specific Fresh Breath Programme and Fresh Breath Kits available.

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