How to Fix Bad Breath in Time for Valentine’s Day
For many people Valentine’s Day means puckering up for a kiss with a loved one – but you don’t want your plans for romance ruined if you’ve got bad breath.
Certain foods, health conditions and habits can cause bad breath.
But good news: in many cases you can improve bad breath with proper dental hygiene.
Dentist Dr Kristina Cain says about a third of Australians suffer from halitosis – or bad breath – and most instances came down to poor oral hygiene.
“The same bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis) also produce unpleasant odours if hard plaque (tartar) is allowed to build up inside your mouth,” said Dr Cain.
“While gingivitis starts as a very mild gum disease, when it progresses to a moderate condition you get a bacterial build-up of tartar which needs technical work by a dentist to remove the calculus,” she said.
“Once it’s stuck beneath the gums and on the roots, you can’t get it off. A dentist will need to scrape the roots and clean out under the gums to clean off the bacteria. If you don’t get this addressed, it can progress into severe gum disease and scaling (or scraping) is needed.”
If left untreated, Dr Cain said things could get much worse.
“A more advanced condition is bone loss and gum recession, and increased mobility of the tooth,” said Dr Cain.
“While loose teeth can be stabilised or splinted against other teeth, this is an infection once established you can never really get rid of – and maintenance is required for life,” she said.
“Also, a chronic infection in the mouth, while it doesn’t necessarily cause the problems, once it’s in the mouth can give out some really bad smells.”
Other causes of bad breath include food that gets trapped between your teeth – which feeds the bacteria.
Dr Cain’s tips on how to keep your breath fresh:
- Home care and cleaning: use an electric toothbrush, rinse with mouth washes and floss.
- Visit dentists for proper descaling: dentists can also address gum disease or bad breath.
- Change your diet: ease up on the garlic and red wine. Also, smoking will directly progress gum disease.
For a quick breath fix, in time for Valentine’s Day:
- Mouth wash: particularly ones that contain chlorhexidine which is also recommended if you have gum issues. But you can’t use long term as it stains the teeth.
- Gum: but make sure it’s sugar-free.
- If you’re eating garlic at lunch or dinner: get you partner to eat it as well.
“There are a lot of mouthwashes on the market and these are great for a quick freshen up but with various testing now done, researchers often turn around and change their mind,” said Dr Cain.
“I say to patients here is the therapeutic one if you need it. You can use more mainstream washes, but you can’t count on them to fix the problem,” she said.
“Salt water rinses, natural saline, can help with sore throats and soft tissue inflammation.”
Dr Cain said ultimately, really bad breath was a good reminder to go to the dentist.
“Dentists can be a very good base camp. They can determine if something else is wrong, for example naso pharynx issues, a collection of mucus, sinusitis issues,” said Dr Cain.
“If an issue is systemic, sometimes the gut can be a problem, fungal candida can smell, there can be issues with lining with the gut,” she said.
“Probiotics can be used to help, this reflects on the internal digestive system. Dentists can direct you to the GP or somebody who can do the testing for things including food allergies.”
For more information visit Refresh Dental Spa at www.refreshdental.com.au