Halitosis, a.k.a. chronic bad breath, is a condition in which a person emanates an unattractive odour from their mouth. The everyday “morning breath” most people wake up with is not halitosis. Neither is the five minutes of bad breath you’ll experience after eating the occasional spice-heavy exotic meal. Halitosis symptoms include a persistent smell that does not go away after brushing, flossing and rinsing. It can be demoralizing and embarrassing, so much so that many people are reluctant to even mention it to their dentist. But it’s also fairly common, and thus, quite treatable.
Halitosis has a number of possible causes: cavities, gum disease, cracked fillings and less-than-clean dentures are all likely suspects. Then there are the dietary factors; high-protein/low-carbohydrate diets, acidic foods, sweets and, of course, a steady fare of onions and garlic can all contribute to bad breath. Excessive coffee, alcohol consumption and tobacco users run an even higher risk.
Since most cases of halitosis originate from inside the mouth, your first step should be a re-evaluation of your basic brushing and rinsing technique. While cleaning the teeth is necessary, it is of paramount importance that you give extra focus to the tongue—this is where a large amount of the bacteria lives that’s causing your bad breath. Scrape the tongue, then floss and rinse. Remember that brushing just your teeth only targets 25% of your mouth*; add LISTERINE® mouthwash to target virtually 100%.
*From study representing teeth surface area measurements.
FRESH BREATH: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cleaning Your Dentures?
You should rinse your dentures and brush away food particles and debris twice daily. Use a mild dishwasher liquid and soak dentures in the cleaning solution in a container. Always clean dentures over a soft towel or basin half full of water, as they can be slippery and easily break if they fall. Brush with a soft-bristle brush in lukewarm water. Thoroughly clean the denture. Rinse with an antibacterial LISTERINE® mouthwash after to help keep the mouth feeling fresh and clean. When not in your mouth, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water.
Can Bad Breath Signal Underlying Health Problems?
Yes, persistent bad breath may be a by-product of other medical conditions. Slightly fruity breath that isn’t wholly pleasant or offensive is a tell-tale sign of diabetes, while a strong, ammonia scent has been linked to kidney disease.
Periodontal diseases like gingivitis can cause bad breath because of the presence of excess bacteria in the mouth. And dry mouth, which causes a decrease in saliva, leaves your mouth unable to naturally flush bacteria and food particles from your teeth and gums before they break down and start to decay.
If you’re worried your bad breath might be a sign of a bigger issue, or if you’re just unable to control it yourself by brushing, flossing and rinsing, talk to your dentist.