Bad breath happens to everyone at some point, and research suggests that between 25% and 50% of people are regularly affected. Known medically as halitosis, bad breath is best tackled by addressing the cause rather than simply disguising the problem with breath fresheners.
Most bad breath is due to poor oral hygiene, food or drink, or dehydration, but sometimes it can be a sign of an underlying health problem. The possible causes are wide-ranging and include:
Sometimes, bad breath has an underlying medical cause such as:
This includes infections of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs, such as dental abscesses, sinusitis, tonsillitis and bronchitis.
If diabetes is undiagnosed or poorly controlled, your body isn’t able to break down glucose for energy, so it breaks down fat instead. It’s this that causes the production of chemicals called ketones, which have a sweet, fruity odour.
Other causes are:
If you think you have bad breath, see your dentist. They can check for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and infections and can spot signs of some serious conditions such as mouth cancer. They may recommend:
To determine possible causes, your GP may:
Treatments vary widely, depending on the cause. Here are some of the most common solutions for getting rid of bad breath:
Good oral hygiene routine
This will involve:
Lifestyle changes may include:
Other treatments may include: