Why do I suffer from bad breath?

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Bad breath is one of those topics that’s a bit taboo and no one likes to talk about. People can see it as rather embarrassing a little degrading. The truth is, just like a doctor has seen it all, going to your dentist and explaining you suffer with bad breath will just show you are not the first or the last. Infact it is actually very common and nearly everyone experiences some form of it during life. Bad breath can be a minor thing or it can be the signs of a more serious problem, so if you think you have an issue, it is best to get it checked. In this article we will take a closer look at the subject.

Bad breath is more accurately known by its medical name of halitosis. One of the biggest causes of bad breath is unsurprisingly poor oral hygiene. We all know that we need to clean teeth to stop bacteria and remove plaque but we also need to brush our teeth for good breath also. When teeth are not brushed and bacteria is left to build, it can release potent gases which we know as bad breath. It is the same sort of principle if you leave the rubbish lying about and it starts to smell if nothing is done about it.


In this it is also worth remembering that the process of cleaning your teeth is not just about your teeth but your tongue aswell. The tongue can harbour bacteria just as much as teeth, and this is often why you will find many tooth brushes have tongue cleaners (a form of rough edge) which will allow you to gently scrape away at the tongue and remove the coating which can also cause bad breath.


Aswell as carrying out a good oral hygiene routine at home, having regular dental check-ups is another way you can help with this problem. Having frequent check-ups allows your dentist to comprehensively clean your mouth – often in hard to reach places where we simply can’t. Any other problems can also be identified far quicker particularly if you are reporting a change of or new symptoms.


Aside from oral hygiene there are other potential causes of bad breath. Some of the main ones include:


Food and drink

It goes without saying but if you eat or drink lots of spicy or flavoured substances it is likely to increase the chances of your breath smelling. This is normally short lived and can be reversed with the above steps.



Smokers are more likely to suffer from bad breath because the mouth and teeth become stained. Cutting down is probably a good start in helping this initially.



Certain prescription medicines have been known to cause bad breath as a side effect. If you are concerned we suggest visiting your doctor to discuss.


Other problems

Occasionally bad breath will be the cause of another or more serious problem. For example some gastric conditions have bad breath as a symptoms because of the interaction with stomach acid. Diabetes or bronchitis can also be some of the underlying reasons behind bad breath. Once again, if you think there is another reason for your bad breath or it has come on out of the blue, contact your GP for advice.


Bad breath can sometimes be as a result of something that needs further investigation but often it is a temporary thing which can be avoided altogether with following the right steps.


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