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Dental health: Dealing with bad breath

Many people suffer from bad breath, clinically referred to as halitosis, without even noticing it. But if you find people constantly turn away from you when you talk, regularly offering you chewing gum and mints at strange times in the day, or if you just have a nasty taste in your mouth, you probably suffer from halitosis. So, what do you do to avoid offending people with bad mouth odour and the embarrassment of having bad breath?

Overview of bad breath

Bad breath or halitosis can be perceived when you exhale. The condition is classified in to two main categories that have varying degrees of severity: Transient and persistent halitosis. Transient halitosis, as the name suggests, is far less serious than persistent halitosis. It often disappears after performing activities like using mouthwash and brushing your teeth. Persistent halitosis, on the other hand, is more stubborn and does not quickly disappear even after using mouthwash and eating certain foods.

Managing halitosis

There is no cure-all for halitosis, but there are a number of effective ways you can reduce, manage and prevent occurrence of bad mouth odour. Here are the most effective ways for dealing with bad breath:

  • Observe good oral hygiene

Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day to remove food plaque and debris in the mouth. Food plaque and debris in the mouth create a conducive environment for bad-breath-causing bacteria to thrive. Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste and do carry a toothbrush to work or school for use after lunch.

  • Drink a lot of water

Drink a lot of water to keep your mouth nice and moist. You may chew gum (ideally sugarless) or suck on candy (sugarless too) to simulate saliva production. Saliva helps wash away bacteria and food particles that may lead to bad breath.

  • Watch the foods and medications you use

Make a list of the foods you eat, especially if you think they may be the reason behind your bad breath. Some foods and even medications may actually play a role in causing bad mouth odour. Consult a dentist and bring the log of foods or medication you use for review.

See your dentist regularly

Don’t just go to the dentist when you have a problem. Visit the dentist at least twice a year for a full dental check up. Your dentist will perform professional teeth cleaning, oral examination, periodontal disease diagnosis and treatment, as well as other standard procedures that will help catch and treat bad breath, dry mouth and other dental problems in good time.

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