Bad Breath

What is it and why do most of us suffer from it first thing in the morning?

Around 1 in 4 people are thought to have bad breath

A Common Problem

Bad breath is an extremely common problem and almost all of us worry that we’ve had it at some point or other. In fact 1 in 4 people are thought to have bad  breath.*

*Source: www.nhs.co.uk

There are, however, two ends of the bad breath spectrum:

Morning breath

Most of us have had this at one time or another. We get it because when we sleep our salivary glands rest so there isn’t enough saliva to wash away bacteria and food debris. It’s only a temporary problem though and it can be rectified by brushing and rinsing with an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash.

Halitosis

By contrast, halitosis is more prolonged often with more serious symptoms, caused by excess bacteria giving off smelly gases. If stepping up your oral hygiene routine doesn’t help then you should visit your dentist.

CAUSES OF BAD BREATH

Bacteria feed on the cocktail of proteins, food debris and dead skin cells that build up between teeth, under our gum lines and around the mouth. A few hours after oral care, bacteria multiply, building up on the teeth surfaces and around the mouth.

Low-level oral hygiene allows this build up to continue. Thriving in a warm, oxygen-free environment, bacteria build up and stick to one another to form a biofilm.

At the same time a film of plaque bacteria generates on the teeth. If not removed thoroughly, they will cause tooth decay and gingivitis. They are also responsible for expelling foul-smelling gases that create bad breath.

Worst offenders

  • What we eat and drink
  • Meal-skipping (especially breakfast)
  • Stress
  • Illness or hormonal changes
  • Not enough fluid in your body
  • Medications that dry your mouth
What we eat and drink
Psst. Do you have bad breath?

PSST. DO YOU HAVE BAD BREATH?

The difficulty with bad breath is that it is almost impossible to self-detect so it's easy to be totally oblivious to the problem. And, as it's such a taboo subject, it's not something people will tell you about either.

If you think you may have any of the symptoms mentioned, then it might be an idea to ask a partner, close friend or member of your family for their opinion. After all, wouldn't it be better to know than not know?

Alternatively, you can try the 'lick-wrist test'. Whilst it is not conclusive, it should give you a decent idea of whether your breath may be letting you down:

The 'Lick Wrist Test'

It might sound weird, but this works! Stick your tongue out as far as possible and run the inside of your wrist down its length. Start as far back as possible as it’s the odour at the back of the tongue that is the worst. Wait a few seconds for it to dry. If an odour is there, you’re likely to be suffering from bad breath.

The tell-tale signs

  • Gums that bleed on brushing
  • Receding gums
  • A dry mouth
  • An unpleasant, metallic taste
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