Bad breath and dental Mouth Infections are on the increase!
Bad breath, Halitosis and advanced bad breath odour treatments, often include treating the causes of gum diseases, bleeding gums and infections. Bad odours aren't just socially embarrassing - because hidden gum diseases can loosen teeth and ruin Cosmetic Dentistry treatments including metal Dental Implants, mini Implants, Crowns, Bridges, Veneers, Precision Dentures etc. If you've noticed bad breath then you may have gum infections, bleeding gums, worsening bone levels that causes uneven teeth, gaps between teeth, holes between teeth or even needing additional Periodontal Plastic Surgery sometimes. Hopefully, if you have Bad Breath, it will be something more easily treatable and quicker to fix than the mouth below, whose problems have been allowed to go unchecked for some time!
BAD BREATH ODOUR and halitosis - A HEALTH and SOCIAL ISSUE!
Bad Breath is often a condition that others would normally be embarrassed to tell you about, so the sufferer is usually the last person to know (like B.O.) how bad this is, especially as you get used to your own smells and so in effect you are unaware there's a problem at first.
Bad breath or oral odours can be caused by poor dental or oral hygiene, tooth decay, wisdom tooth infections(pericoronitis), gum diseases, reduced saliva flow, spicy foods and drinks, smoking tobacco, various medications or other illnesses such as sinusitis, bronchitis, stomach ulcers, throat infections etc.
If teeth are as bad or infected as above, then extraction of worst teeth may be the only sensible and healthy option, if they have been allowed to get that bad - see an example of a tooth we extracted that was causing bad breath and infection in the jawbones too:
Other Treatment Options usually depends upon the length of time you have had the problem and how reversible it is, so the earlier any problems are dealt with then the less that needs to be done to correct these, thus something like spicy foods such as garlic, onions, curries etc, are simply remedied by avoiding these temporary causes and waiting 24 hours to check if this alone has made a big difference..
However, ANY problem that doesn't improve dramatically within 2 weeks of you trying to improve this condition using your own remedies (eg: cleaning your teeth and gums thoroughly x3 daily) needs Professional advice. Dental problems are the most common reasons for bad breath, so see a Dentist first if you have no reason to suspect a medical cause, it could be a sign of hidden disease.
Arrange a dental appointment with a recommended Dentist to find out if your bad breath is being caused by Dental problems (eg: tooth decay, gum diseases, inefficient cleaning, abscesses, ulcers etc). If not, then at least if you seek a medical opinion next, they can be assured that common Dental causes have been eliminated.
Mouthwashes that are antiseptic can reduce the bacteria and their products that cause bad breath, but unless any inaccessible stagnation areas such as cavities, tartar, defective fillings etc. are treated, the bacteria will multiply in these areas very quickly, creating bad breath again within minutes, so mouthwash is just a temporary suppressor, not a cure by itself! Many people make this mistake and think Mouthwashes are the cure, they aren't, but can help temporarily!
The best Antiseptic Mouthwashes I recommend is Eludril or Peroxyl, both of which can be bought over the counter (OTC) and are Alcohol-Free. Most supermarket mouthwashes are Alcohol based for their antiseptic effects, but I tend to recommend avoiding Alcohol mouthwashes as they are associated with increased rates of Oral cancer and anyway there are better alternatives overall.
If you insist on a daily Mouthwash, just use a simple Fluoride one and Supermarket Own Brands are fine for this, such as Sainsbury's Basic at some 37p a bottle:
Tongue Cleaning - sometimes the papillae (taste buds) grow a bit longer or hairy like and trap food and this smells if it lingers, so there are tongue-scrappers one can buy to rub on the surface, stick your tongue out and rub with a back-to-front motion. Or simply use your toothbrush to clean your tongue similarly, but don't go too far back or you'll feel a bit sick doing this.
CAN YOU CHECK IF YOU HAVE BAD BREATH?
You get used to your own "odours", so as said earlier, you are usually the last one to know. You could though try any of the following to find out the truth:
1. Ask your partner/best friend to smell your breath for you at different times of the day!
2. Lick your wrist, wait 30 seconds to let it dry, then smell it yourself. Not as reliable as No.1 above, but less embarrassing.
3. Get access to a "halimeter" which measures your breath in a machine for the kind of products that cause the smell (sulphides etc.). Not very common but can monitor any progress of remedies you try.
4. Prevent the commonest causes of bad breath by seeing your Dentist regularly to help treat and prevent oral causes of bad breath.
Remember, healthy mouths don't cause bad breath odours!
A lot of people Physically put a toothbrush in their mouths and wiggle it about randomly, but they often miss cleaning the gum-line (where tooth meets gum) properly, especially on the insides (tongue-side) of the teeth - so spend a bit longer doing the inside gumline (this is the area your dentist/hygienist spends longer cleaning as it gets the worst build-up of plaque) and Read our Tooth Brushing guide on the Dental Information tab above, to check your technique is OK.
However the next thing I am going to suggest you do, just once a day, is both the EASIEST remedy AND the most difficult one to actually do, but it is THE answer to bad breath in 9 out of 10 cases, after any holes or gum infections have been treated - yes it's that stringy stuff called FLOSS !!!
Unless you have open gaps between your teeth, then they contact each other and these contacts grow bacteria quickly and they smell, as well as eventually causing cavities and gum problems between the teeth. Toothbrushing alone can't get right in-between teeth, so we use floss to do that and rub up and down (not sawing through the gum please!) the tooth surfaces, to remove that sticky, clear film we call bacterial plaque, that causes all our dental problems. Yes, mouthwashes help AFTER you have flossed, but without toothbrushing and flossing first, mouthwashes have only a very short effect on bacterial growth, no matter what those Adverts on TV claim. So how do you know where you are leaving bacterial plaque in your mouth after cleaning?
So when 12 years onwards and most adult teeth are present, you should BRUSH Twice Daily, Floss once daily and check you are actually removing the Bacterial Plaque properly, by checking with a vegetable dye called a "Disclosing Tablet", available from most Chemists, which is chewed in the mouth and will stain smelly, disease-causing mouth bacteria so they are obvious to see. Often around the gums, between the teeth and on the tongue are the areas not thoroughly cleaned physically. Again Mouthwashes alone are NOT the answer, despite the £millions they spend on advertising. Indeed, my family have now banned me from shouting at the TV when certain adverts claim a mouthwash removes more plaque than toothbrushing alone, which whilst is just about legally true because they mean without any toothpaste on the toothbrush, what they don't say is their MW makes very little difference at all if you brush with toothpaste and floss as well ! But the taste and the burning peppermint or alcohol will fool you into thinking it's doing something - it is, just making you poorer though may not be the answer you were hoping for, so unless your Dentist or Hygienist recommends a specific mouthwash, the Brush, Floss and Disclosing tablets are a higher priority and more useful for your dental health long-term.
So PLEASE read our Info. about Flossing too - there are all kinds of devices to help you Floss easier now and whilst like any new thing, it seems really awkward for the first few tries, by the end of the week you will have a little routine going, your mouth will feel (and smell) better and best of all, you will have fewer cavities and gum problems too!
That is the best and most free advice I can give to anyone - Brush twice a day, floss once a day (morning or night, doesn't matter), reduce your sugar attacks on teeth between meals, so have a savory snack or fruit between meals, not sweets (or go for sugar-free mints, chewing gum etc.) and then there is the Cheese trick.
If you know you are going to have a lot of sweet things in a day, such as Birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Weddings, Parties etc, then eat a small piece of cheese before the sweet things and it protects your teeth - YES really, it's called the Cheese trick and even a small cube on a stick, chewed up well and licked over all the back teeth, will give you about 2 hours protection (it neutralises the acids bacteria make but also stops sticky things sticking to teeth and rotting them for hours after eating) and even eating it in Pizzas or a sandwich seems to help too. This isn't just good advice for the kids, but for Adults and grandparents too.
In the UK, we have relatively poor Dental Hygiene knowledge, certainly compared to the USA where even children know what Floss is. How often would you see a Mum or Dad showing their child how to Floss? Look carefully at the picture below...
So in summary for Bad Breath problems (or to avoid bad breath problems):
1. Regular check-ups at the Dentist (at least annually if only for Oral Cancer check) to clean teeth/gums, advice, fix holes etc.
2. Brush well two or three times a day (you can brush tongue too) and Floss once a day (see our Info. tabs above for techniques)
3. Avoid Spicy foods (garlic, curry) the day before important events, social meetings, dental visits etc.
4. Don't over-feed the Bacteria in your mouth with Sugar in foods, bacteria LOVE sugar and grow ten times quicker!
5. If you own methods haven't cured the problem in 2 weeks, ask to see your Dentist first to check there's not another problem.
As stated before, a healthy mouth doesn't smell bad permanently but why wait for things to get that bad?
Prevention is better than cure, so follow the above 1-5 points diligently and you'll save yourself some dental costs too!
Dr.Kilcoyne is a fully registered UK Specialist in Prosthodontics, which includes Implants, Crowns, Veneers, Dentures, Bonding etc, to Restore or Replace teeth functionally and cosmetically so you can have a Smile that you can be proud of, without compromise. Yes, all this expertise, experience and excellent track-record have a price, but we still believe it is Good Value for the level of Specialist Quality one is getting and can be confident in.
We hope whether you seek your treatment from SmileSpecialist® or elsewhere, that the wide range of information provided on our Website will help you in discussions with your own Dentist, so you can fully consider which options best meet your needs, budget and long-term wishes for your Dental Health.
You can use the above website menu or just click-a-link here for Tooth Brushing Information or Dental flossing techniques or Preventing Gum Diseases or Cosmetic Dentistry, Tooth Veneers, Tooth Whitening, Dental Tooth Implants and smaller Mini-Implants, Dental Ceramic Crowns, Gum Diseases, Root Canal treatments or Dental CPD Courses, are just some of the subjects you can learn more about here on our award winning dental website www.smilespecialist.co.uk.
As always, Prevention is cheaper and better than Cure - that includes Preventing making bad choices based on costs alone!
*Dr.Kilcoyne is a UK registered Specialist in Prosthodontics (GDC No.58373) which includes The Functional and Cosmetic Dentistry aspects of Crowns, Dental Implants, Bridges, Veneers, Fillings, Dentures, Bonding etc. Please go to our MAKE an APPOINTMENT page if you'd like to access his Expertise.
Wishing you good Dental Health AND a Smile to be proud of, from all at the SmileSpecialist® Team.