Today is Valentines Day and it seems like the perfect day to discuss an awkward topic of conversation. Social distancing may prevent anyone in a relatively new relationship from meeting up for the day, in which case a video call will not be affected by what we are about to discuss. However, for those who live together and will be celebrating together it’s fair to say there is one thing which may prevent a passionate Valentine’s kiss, bad breath (or halitosis).
Bad breath (or halitosis) is believed to be suffered by up to 1 in 4 people and yet it is highly preventable and treatable. One of the main reasons it goes untreated is because many people don’t even realise they have it in the first place. Think about the number of times you’ve spoken to a friend or colleague and been overwhelmed by their breath yet said nothing. The scarier thought is that perhaps people have done the same thing to you at some stage.
The easiest way to tell if you have bad breath is to lick the inside of your wrist and then let it dry for a few seconds, then take a sniff. Alternatively, you could simply smell your floss or tongue scraper after you use it.
What are the causes of bad breath?
There are many factors which contribute to bad breath and some of the most obvious are food, tobacco, coffee and alcohol. It goes without saying that strong smelling meals like curries, or anything with a lot of onions or garlic will have an effect. This normally causes a short-term change in breath and most people will realise or even apologise for having just eaten something pungent, perhaps using some mouthwash or chewing gum shortly after.
What may be less obvious or visible is the effects of poor oral health, which leads to bacteria in your mouth and namely between the teeth or on the gums and tongue. I spoke some months back about the tools which hygienists recommend and one of those was a tongue scraper. One of these devices, which are available in the practice, will remove food debris from the rough surface of the tongue and help lower bacteria and therefore the chances of bad breath.
Can it be treated in the practice?
In most cases the simple answer is yes. There are a few exceptions of underlying medical issues like diabetes, tonsillitis or sinusitis which will require medical attention with your GP. Alternatively, if you have a cavity or other more serious dental issue then David will speak to you about this during your dental health check.
For everyone else we will monitor your oral health closely and recommend a suitable number of hygiene appointments for a deep clean of your teeth and mouth whilst also recommending which products you should be frequently using. This will help to lower the bacteria in your mouth and in turn improve your breath.
What do I do next?
If you have concerns regarding bad breath then please make an appointment to see us as soon as possible where we will outline a treatment plan to help freshen your breath and restore your confidence.