According to the Irish Dental Association (IDA), 25% of people in Ireland suffer from halitosis or chronic bad breath. Our dentist team in Ballincollig have put together their best tips to help you avoid and treat bad breath.
Bad breath is a common problem with many causes and is typically simple to remedy. Don’t suffer in embarrassed silence. Take steps to better-smelling breath with these tips.
Three Ways To Check If You Have Bad Breath
Let’s start by checking if you have bad breath in the first place. Here are some ways you can check.
- The saliva test – lick your wrist or back of your hand and wait for the saliva to dry. Once it has dried, the smell of the licked area will give you an indication of how your breath smells.
- The cup test – place a clean empty cup or cupped hands over your nose and mouth, breath out to check.
- The friend test – ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion.
The best time to check your breath is in the middle of the morning or afternoon. That way, you are between meals and won’t have just brushed your teeth. Both of which could sway results.
If you have bad breath that won’t go away, contact us to speak to a dentist in Ballincollig.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is most often caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth. Your mouth contains both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria work with saliva to protect your mouth by breaking down foods and reducing harmful bacteria. Good bacteria can cause bad breath when gases are released from the foods being broken down. Harmful bacteria, if left unmanaged, can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Bad breath can also be caused by:
- Diet – Certain foods like garlic and spices and drinks like coffee and alcohol can increase bad smells. A significant change in diet can sometimes cause bad breath, too, whilst your body adjusts.
- Medication – Illness and some medications can cause bad breath as a side effect. Your GP can advise alternatives if you believe medication is the cause.
- Dehydration – Not drinking enough water means your mouth makes less saliva which can lead to bad breath. A dry mouth is also why breath smells in the mornings.
- Lifestyle – Smoking and drinking alcohol can both lead to an increase in harmful bacteria in the mouth. They can also stain your teeth yellow and brown.
- Gum disease or tooth decay – The most common symptom of gum disease and tooth decay is an increase in bad breath.
Please remember to book an appointment in advance to see your dentist; Ballincollig patients are reminded that we cannot accept walk-ins during Covid-19 Restrictions.
How To Prevent Bad Breath
The most effective way of preventing bad breath is to follow a daily hygiene routine. Good oral hygiene cleans away food particles and plaque that can lead to bad breath.
A daily routine for good oral health should include:
- Brushing your teeth well at least twice a day (ask your dentist to recommend the best toothbrushes and toothpaste).
- Brushing your tongue – bad breath causing bacteria live on the surface of your tongue.
- Flossing your teeth to ensure that all plaque and food have been removed.
Try to ensure that your lifestyle supports your oral health as well as your overall health. Take these steps to help prevent bad breath and other oral health issues:
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of tooth-friendly foods.
- Avoid food and drink that causes bad breath by reducing your intake of coffee, alcoholic drinks, sugar, spices and garlic.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. The HSE recommends drinking between 1.6 and 2 litres of water per day.
- Don’t smoke or vape.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months.
- Get regular checkups with your dentist in Ballincollig.
Treating Bad Breath
If you are experiencing bad breath, there are steps you can take to correct it.
First of all, check your diet to see if any foods or drinks could be causing the problem. Also, check your oral hygiene routine. Adapt your routine if it could be better, and consult your dentist if you don’t see any improvement after a week to 10 days.
Your dentist might recommend a particular treatment or hygiene method that can get rid of your bad breath. They will also be able to spot any problems like tooth decay or gum disease. Catching a problem early can prevent bad breath or treat it quickly.
A Note On Braces and Dentures
Anyone with braces or dentures might notice a change in how their breath smells after having them fitted. This is entirely normal. With clear braces, like Invisalign, and dentures, food and saliva can build up around them. You might also find that some foods get caught in fast braces.
To prevent braces or dentures causing bad breath, follow your dentist’s guidelines.
Dentists Open During Lockdown
Guiney Dental is open by appointment during every level of lockdown. The dentist surgery in Ballincollig is fully stocked with PPE, and we are open six days a week (Monday to Saturday). Whether you need a general check-up or have a dental emergency, we’re here for you.
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