Nobody likes bad breath but the good news is that it always has a cause and therefore can usually be cured. The first question is to understand why.
Some common causes of bad breath are:
- Tobacco use.
- What you eat, or don’t eat. Garlic, onions, coffee, etc. Once they are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, the smell can be noticeable in the breath. The odours generally remain until the body processes the food, so unfortunately there’s no quick fix.
- Dry mouth. One function of saliva is to wash away excess food particles and bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant smell if they build up on the teeth. Drinking lots of water is a good life-plan anyway, but can definitely help here. If dry mouth bad breath consistently occurs, be sure to contact your dentist or hygienist.
- Infections. Bad breath that seems to have no other cause may indicate an infection elsewhere in the body. If you have chronic bad breath and your dentist rules out any oral problems, see your doctor for an evaluation. Bad breath can be a sign of a range of conditions including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems, so it’s important not to ignore the problem if it doesn’t go away.
Good oral hygiene care, such as tooth brushing and flossing, are the front line of preventing bad breath. Yes, mouthwashes can help eradicate bad breath, but only for the short term. Remember that mouthwashes act only as an adjunct to oral hygiene maintenance and should not replace toothbrush and flossing.
Speaking of mouthwashes...
Commercially available mouthwashes can contain ingredients like fluoride and chlorohexidine that are designed to target and prevent different types of oral diseases. It is important to note that mouthwashes do not adequately remove plaque and are not a replacement for tooth brushing and flossing, but rather to be used as an adjunct to oral hygiene maintenance.
Some mouthwashes also contain alcohol, which is important to note if you are using the mouthwash on a regular basis. The alcohol can be taxing on the tissues inside the mouth.
Please be sure to enquire with your dentist or dental hygienist to see which mouthwash is best suited for you.