Bad Breath (halitosis) will depend on it's cause. The most effective treatment is usually improving your dental hygiene. As part of your daily routine you should:
- Brush your teeth and gums
- Floss in between your teeth
- Clean your tongue
Cleaning your teeth
Your dentist is likely to recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Choose a small to medium sized toothbrush with soft, multi-tufted synthetic bristles.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Brush your teeth after eating for at least two minutes each time. Keep a toothbrush at work or school so you can brush your teeth after lunch.
- Brush all areas of your teeth, paying particular attention to where your teeth meet your gums.
- Your dentist or oral hygienist may recommend using a special single-tufted brush for specific problem areas of your mouth.
- Use a separate toothbrush or a tongue scraper to lightly brush your tongue. Some toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the back of the brush head.
- Use dental floss to clean between your teeth and remove trapped food that could cause tooth decay. Brushing on its own only cleans about 60% of the tooth’s surface.
- Your dentist may suggest you rinse your mouth daily using an anti-bacterial or anti-odour mouthwash. This should not replace brushing but can be included as part of your daily routine.
- Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking an acidic drink, such as fruit juice, or eating acidic fruit, such as oranges, to help prevent tooth erosion.
If you wear dentures, you should take them out at night to give your mouth a chance to rest. Clean your dentures thoroughly before putting them in the next morning. Follow the advice outlined below.
- Do not use toothpaste to clean your dentures because it can scratch the surface and cause stains to build up.
- Clean your dentures thoroughly using soap and lukewarm water, denture cream or a denture-cleaning tablet.
- Use a separate toothbrush to clean your dentures.
Following this routine should ensure your dentures stay fresh and clean and will help prevent build-up of plaque which could cause bad breath.
Fresh breath tips
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid eating strongly flavoured or spicy food.
- Cut down on sugary food and drink because it can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
- Reduce your alcohol intake.
- Stop smoking.
- Cut down on coffee.
- Drink plenty of water to help prevent your mouth becoming dry.
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating to stimulate the flow of saliva. This will help clean away any remaining food particles.
Make sure you visit your dentist for regular check-ups. They can advise on how often you should go. Regular dental check-ups will make sure any plaque is removed from your teeth, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. Your dentist can recommend the best way to clean your teeth and gums and point out any areas you might be missing. They can also identify any signs of gum disease and ensure that they are treated early.