Do you have bad breath?
Most people may have experienced transient bad breath from time to time.
Who is prone to bad breath? Where are the likely problems?
Bad breath is caused by bacteria that do not require oxygen for growth. These bacteria tend to harbour
in the areas that cannot be reached by tooth brushing.
Reasons of bad breadth
• Presence of tooth decay: Tooth decay leads to accumulation of dental plaque in the cavity. The tooth decay may
spread to the pulp, cause pulp death and emit foul odour.
• Having gum disease: Dental plaque tends to accumulate along the gum margins and interdental spaces. This
can cause gingivitis, and eventually lead to recession of the gum tissue. Gum pockets will be formed. More plaque bacteria will accumulate in those areas and cause bad breath.
• Presence of infection: Bad breath may also be the result of dental abscess or infection of the wisdom tooth.
• Wearing unclean dentures: Dentures that are not cleaned properly can also harbor bacteria and food debris that cause bad breath.
• Dry mouth: Dry mouth can be due to the side effects of many types of medications. Persistent dry mouth will reduce the oral cleaning effect of saliva and cause bad breath.
• Smoking: Smoking can cause unpleasant mouth odour as well as dry mouth. Smokers are at greater risk of developing gum disease that can cause bad breath.
• The rough surface of the tongue: It provides a habitat for the bacteria to grow and causes bad breath
What should you do about bad breath?
A) Bad breath that originates from the mouth
You need to go to your dentist for a thorough dental check-up
To determine whether the bad breath is caused by oral diseases such as gum disease,
tooth decay or bacterial infection
To receive appropriate treatment to prevent the condition from getting worse
To get a thorough teeth cleaning. The dentist will also give you oral care advice
such as the correct tooth brushing and flossing techniques
B) Bad breath caused by other health conditions
If the dentist has assured that you do not have any oral problem, your bad breath may be
caused by other medical conditions. You may visit your family physician to check for medical
conditions of other parts of the body such as the ear, nose, throat and the digestive system to
find out the cause of bad breath.
C) Does mouthwash help to eliminate bad breath?
Therapeutic mouthwash can temporarily reduce the number of bacteria which cause bad
However, if you are suffering from gum disease, mouthrinse cannot remove the bacteria
hidden deep in the gum pocket. Therefore, it does not help to eliminate the root cause of
D) Does chewing gum help to eliminate bad breath?
Chewing sugarless gum can stimulate the secretion of saliva. This may temporarily help
to reduce the number of bacteria
What can you do to prevent bad breath?
1) Maintain good oral hygiene
2) Pay attention to your diet
• Avoid foods such as garlic and onion which give out intense smell.
• Drink water frequently to keep your mouth moist.
3) Being health conscious
• Refrain from smoking/Quit smoking
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle
4) Have regular dental check-up
• The dentist will carry out professional teeth cleaning for us and will provide appropriate
treatment if necessary