Worried you suffer from bad breath? Feeling so self-conscious that you’re actually a tiny bit relieved there’s a 2-metre social distancing rule in place and no one can come in too close?
If this rings true and you’re secretly quite pleased work meetings and social interactions have moved online behind the safety of a screen, then enough is enough. It’s time to take action!
Firstly, bad breath (or halitosis, to give it its formal title), is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an extremely common condition that can afflict anyone. In fact, it’s estimated that at least 1 in 4 people are troubled with smelly breath, with some studies suggesting the number of sufferers could be even higher, at around 50% of the population! So, relax. You’re not on your own.
But knowing you’re not the only one doesn’t solve the problem, does it? So, what does? Well, thankfully it’s pretty easy to treat. By following easy steps and adapting to a few lifestyle changes, you can combat odours and banish bad breath once and for all.
How do I know if my breath smells?
Oddly enough, it’s often the people most troubled about their breath smelling who have the least to be concerned about. Why? Because these people tend to be more particular about their oral hygiene in a bid to address the issue.
If you’re unsure though, there are a number of easy ways to tell. Simplest is to ask the question. If you’re comfortable enough, ask a loved one or close friend if they’ve ever picked up on any smells. If that feels too awkward, you could try breathing into your hands whilst they are cupped over your mouth and nose or licking the inside of your wrist and smelling it. Other subtle indicators that your breath needs freshening up, could be if you’re aware people turn away slightly while you’re speaking or if you have a bad taste in your mouth.
What can cause smelly breath?
There are a number of factors that can affect the way your breath smells. These include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Problems with teeth and gums – like gum disease, an infection or a hole in your tooth.
- Some medical conditions such as tonsillitis
- Eating spicy or strong-smelling foods
- Crash dieting
- Being dehydrated
Top tips on how to tackle bad breath:
Brush and floss daily
The easiest and best way to make sure you don’t have bad breath is to keep your teeth and mouth as clean as possible. This means brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove any build-up of food particles and bacteria. Flossing is also important as it’s an effective way of removing trapped plaque and debris from awkward spots between the teeth that could lodge themselves and cause bad odours.
Don’t forget your tongue!
You brush your teeth, but do you brush your tongue? No? Then it’s time to start. Tongues can harbour all kinds of hidden nasties and by simply brushing the surface gently – with either your regular toothbrush or a specially designed tongue scraper – you can successfully remove food particles and bacteria to keep things fresh!
Stay on top of dentist appointments
Ok, so this is tricky at the moment with Coronavirus causing appointment backlogs, but it’s important to stay on top of routine check-ups as much as possible. Ideally, you should visit your dentist at least once, if not twice, a year. And top this up with trips to see your dental hygienist too as they will scale and polish your teeth, removing any stubborn build-up of plaque.
Keep an eye on your diet
Do you love spicy food and strong flavours? Sadly, whilst they might taste delicious the after-effects are anything but. Foods such as garlic, onions and rich spices, can all taint your breath. And, whilst brushing may help to mask the smell, these substances get into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you then breathe the scent back out. So, to eliminate the problem completely, you need to cut them from your diet.
Saliva production plays a big part in keeping your mouth healthy and smelling fresh. Without it, bacteria thrive so to encourage saliva production stay hydrated by trying to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day – and avoid too many diuretics like caffeine and alcohol.
Minty mouth wash or sugar-free mints and gum
We can all suffer a crisis of confidence with our breath, so keeping a packet of sugar-free chewing gum or mints to hand is a great way to freshen breath in between meals. A quick rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash is also a great way of getting a minty pick me up and ridding your mouth of food debris and bacteria.
Still feeling self-conscious?
By following this advice, you should find that any concerns about bad breath disappear. But, if after a few weeks you don’t notice any improvement, it’s wise to consult your dentist for advice.
If you’re pretty sure your breath smells fresh but still lack confidence and remain tight-lipped, then perhaps bad breath isn’t your main concern. Maybe what you’re really self-conscious about is your smile – which could be a sign it’s time to show it a bit more love.
Whatever your mouth woes, the team at The Harley Street Smile Clinic are here to help. As a premier cosmetic dentistry clinic, we offer a wide range of treatments to help perfect your smile and boost your confidence. Take a look at what we offer or get in touch with the team to find out more about how we can help you.