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A Breath of Fresh Air

Do you know someone who has bad breath? Or have you been conscious about the smell of your own breath, especially in the morning?

Bad breath, breath malodour, halitosis, whatever you want to call it, has health and social implications. It is the unpleasant and often offensive smell emanating from the oral cavity. In fact, 90% of all bad breath odours come from the mouth itself.

90% of all bad breath odours come from the mouth itself.”

What causes bad breath?

We know that certain foods cause bad breath, such as onions and garlic. But did you know that bad breath can also be caused by underlying medical conditions where the odour is blood-borne and emitted via the lungs? These include:

  • Lung disease such as chronic bronchitis

  • Stomach issues, such as reflux and hiatus hernia

  • Diabetes

  • Liver disease, such as hepatic cirrhosis

  • Internal bleeding

  • Post-nasal drip or sinus issues

4 common causes of Bad Breath

1. Dental decay & poor cleaning

Bad teeth = Bad breath

Dental decay and poor cleaning habits of the teeth, gums, tongue and any appliances such as dentures results in increased presence of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria feed off the food particles and emit sulphur (if you’ve been to a hot spring, that’s the same yellow element that causes the rotten egg smell), causing bad breath. This can be minimised by 4 good oral hygiene practices:

  1. brushing two minutes twice daily (morning and night)

  2. cleaning between the teeth (floss, flossettes, interdental brushes)

  3. cleaning the tongue (tongue cleaner) and any other dental appliances you have

  4. Visiting your dentist every 6 months for your check-up and clean

2. Gum disease

Ouch! Those gums look painful!

Gum disease not only affects your health, it also affects your breath. Those horrible colonies of bacteria growing on your teeth and underneath the gums, forming plaque and tartar – they smell! The bacteria on your gums are like those that you leave behind when you don’t clean your teeth, it will affect your breath in the same way.

3. Dry mouth

Did you just lick your lips??

Dry mouth, an extremely common condition that people aren’t aware they have, is another cause of bad breath. There are many causes of dry mouth such as during sleep, lack of fluids during the day, too much caffeine, certain medications, and even medical conditions. But why would dry mouth cause bad breath? Saliva essentially washes your teeth and balances the pH of your mouth. This means that when you have low saliva flow, the bacteria aren’t washed away, allowing them to multiply and produce obnoxious gases.

4. Tonsils

Those bacteria sure hang on tight to the tonsils!

Less well known but actually a very common cause of bad breath is our tonsils or rather, what is stuck around the tonsils, known as tonsilloliths. A tonsillolith is a mass of bacteria that produces the chemicals that cause it to smell like rotten eggs. Tonsilloliths are harmless. They are just annoyingly smelly.

A breath of not-so-fresh air

Many people with bad breath either aren’t aware of the preventions and treatments available or are afraid to seek advice from their dentist. Your dentist can help identify the cause of bad breath and provide treatments and preventions suitable for your needs. Call us today on (02) 9411 5583 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

One great place to start is good home-care oral hygiene and staying hydrated. Just doing these 2 can significantly minimise bad breath. Not sure if you’ve got the right cleaning technique? Don’t worry! We’re here to help. Make an appointment today for a check-up and clean and ask our dentist about the right brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning techniques.

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