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Halitosis and the Fresh Breath Clinic

Bad breath- it’s one of the most common oral health issues worldwide, yet it is still somewhat of a taboo to tell a member of your family, a friend or a co-worker that they have it!

It is estimated that around 1 in 4 people globally suffer from chronic bad breath (also known as halitosis), and it is the third most common reason that people seek dental care, after tooth decay and gum disease. These statistics are not to be sniffed at, yet still people put off seeking treatment for halitosis because of embarrassment or because they think it will just resolve itself if left alone.

Here at Wimpole Street Dental Care we know how difficult it is to talk about bad breath, so we’ve put together a few facts about the causes of halitosis and how it can be treated, in the hopes that if you are suffering from bad breath you will seek treatment as soon as possible.

So what causes halitosis?

The main and most significant cause of bad breath is a poor dental hygiene routine. If you do not regularly brush and floss, particles of food will remain stuck in your teeth, where they can build up and slowly break down. The breaking down of these particles by bacteria release sulphur compounds, making your breath smell stale. In addition to this, foul-smelling products or pungent foods such as onion and garlic can be carried in the blood to the lungs, where they can affect the breath. Other causes of halitosis include:

  • Dry Mouth- Saliva naturally keeps your mouth clean, however saliva production can be reduced as a result of smoking, or due to some medications and vitamin supplements.

  • Crash Diets- Extreme diets which include fasting or low carbohydrate intake (like the Atkins diet) can lead to bad breath as the body burns fat stores, producing strong smelling chemicals called Ketones.

  • Mouth, nose and throat conditions- Infections or inflammation in the nose, throat or sinuses cause halitosis due to the large number of bacteria produced.

How can halitosis be treated?

As the most common cause of halitosis is a poor oral health routine, the easiest way it can be treated is to brush twice a day and floss regularly- this ensures that those pesky food particles don’t linger between your teeth for too long. Brush your tongue too, as bacteria, food and dead cells can quickly build up on the tongue surface. To avoid a dry mouth, keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and stimulate saliva production by chewing sugar-free gum or sucking a sugar-free mint. If you smoke and drink regularly, consider reducing your intake, as both will dry out your mouth. In addition, try to avoid smelly foods like garlic or onions as well as spicy foods. Foods that are high in sugar have also been linked to halitosis, so consider cutting back on sugar too!

If you are still suffering from bad breath, then we highly recommend paying us a visit at Wimpole Street, as we offer a service called The Fresh Breath Clinic specifically designed to treat chronic bad breath. A fresh breath consultation consists of a comprehensive examination of teeth and all soft tissues in the mouth. We also take X-rays and carry out various tests for our assessment, including taking a sample of bacteria which is analysed straight away under the microscope to help with the diagnosis. At the end of the appointment we will discuss your recommended treatment plan.

On average patients are treated 4 to 6 times over a 3-month period. At the completion of your treatment we advise how frequently you will need follow-up maintenance appointments, which is generally every 3 – 6 months. So, if you feel like halitosis is affecting your everyday life, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 7935 3323, because we can help.