A woman checks whether she has fresh breath

There are few things more embarrassing and anxiety-provoking than realising you have bad breath during an up-close encounter. Halitosis - as it is medically known - is a widespread condition affecting approximately 1 in 4 people (and many don’t even realise that they have it). While chewing some minty gum is an effective short-term solution before an important meeting, understanding the underlying cause of your less than fresh breath may require a more thorough investigation. 

You would be correct in assuming that poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of halitosis, but did you know that bad breath can also function as a warning light indicating an underlying medical condition? 

At Smile Shop, we are dedicated to seeing South Africans enjoy the benefits of fresh breath and a healthy smile by providing a premium selection of oral hygiene products at the click of a button. 

Let’s unpack the answers to your bad breath questions and put you in control of your oral health journey today: 

#1 What causes bad breath?

There is no simple answer to this troublesome question. But if you have noticed an odorous smell coming from your mouth, here are a few possible root causes:

  • Poor dental hygiene

In too much of a rush to conduct a regular tooth-brushing, interdental brushing or flossing regimen? Been skipping the inevitable trip to the dentist for a checkup? This could be the reason for your bad breath

Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can result in the buildup of food particles in your mouth, resulting in bad breath. Plaque, if it remains on your teeth and is not removed through brushing, can end up forming plaque-filled pockets between teeth and gums known as periodontitis. 

The tongue can also harbour a large number of bacteria that produce foul odours (perhaps consider investing in a tongue cleaner?). 

If you wear dentures, inadequate cleaning of these can also result in bad breath.

Daily dental hygiene practices can go a long way to preventing bad breath

  • Food

Certain foods and drinks including onion, garlic, coffee, and alcohol, have strong odours that can linger in the mouth, even after digestion. The breakdown of these substances in the body can release volatile compounds, contributing to bad breath.

  • Tobacco

Smoking and tobacco does not only stain teeth but also results in persistent bad breath. The chemicals present in tobacco products can dry out the mouth, leaving a foul-smelling residue. On top of this, smoking reduces saliva production, which is essential for maintaining oral hygiene.

  • Dry mouth

Do you know and understand the horrors of morning breath? This confidence-deflating reality is commonly as a result of sleeping with your mouth open or a lack of adequate hydration during the night. Dry mouth can also be a side-effect of certain medications which inhibit the production of saliva. 

  • Medical conditions

Bad breath may be a symptom of a deeper, more concerning medical condition, actually serving as a foul-smelling-warning-sign pointing to the ailment. Some of the conditions that may dampen your fresh breath include: diabetes, liver or kidney disease, gum disease (gingivitis), tonsil stones, a number of cancers, sinus infections, respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal issues, to name a few. Treatment of these medical issues can work to alleviate the associated bad breath.

#2 What can I do to ensure fresh breath?

Identifying the underlying cause of bad breath can be the silver bullet to fight it. Follow these steps to get to the bottom of the issue:

Step 1: Practise good oral hygiene

What may appear to be an obvious first-step to counter the breath stench is not the daily habit of many breath-conscious people.

A man checks whether he has fresh breath after brushing his teeth

So let’s unpack it one step at a time:

    • Brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for at least 2 minutes on each occasion
    • Floss or use an interdental brush once a day to clean hard-to-reach areas untouched by the toothbrush
    • Use a tongue-cleaner/scraper to remove excess microbes and harmful bacteria from your mouth
    • Use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash
    • Keep well-hydrated, mostly drinking water, throughout the day
    • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and products containing caffeine which could exacerbate a dry mouth condition.

Step 2: Consult a dentist regularly

If the basic dental hygiene practices listed above are the first step to addressing the fresh breath conundrum, regular dental check-ups are an essential second. 

Dentists can identify and treat any oral issues contributing to bad breath, such as gum disease or tooth decay. Professional cleanings can contribute to fresher breath by removing plaque and tartar buildup.

Step 3: Investigate underlying medical conditions

If your bad breath persists despite maintaining good oral hygiene, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your overall health and identify any underlying medical conditions contributing to the problem. Treating these conditions can ultimately help you in your pursuit of fresh breath.

Buy premium home dental care products at Smile Shop

Don’t waste your money and energy buying endless tubes of mints or chewing gum at the fuel shops. 

Access affordable premium dental hygiene products online from the professionals at Smile Shop. (We deliver straight to your door).

Step out with confidence and fresh breath thanks to Smile Shop.
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