Many people only think about their breath after they’ve eaten a meal filled with garlic or onions. For others, however, bad breath is a constant worry. If you have persistent bad breath or an ever-present bad taste in your mouth, it’s most likely caused by bacteria. These feed on the remaining bits of food left on your teeth after eating and can cause gingivitis, a type of gum disease.
What is gingivitis and how is it treated?
Gingivitis is an inflammatory response to bacterial build up on teeth, which can be caused by a lack of oral hygiene, smoking and sometimes hormonal changes. Besides bad breath, the signs of gingivitis can include swollen and bleeding gums. If not treated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious type of gum disease that can cause tooth and jawbone loss.
Gingivitis can be reversed by brushing and flossing your teeth more often coupled with regular visits to the dentist. Some cases need more advanced treatments, like planing and scaling, where the dentist cleans the roots of the affected teeth.
How to prevent bad breath and gum disease
These preventive measures can reduce your risk of gum disease and persistent bad breath.
Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste.
Floss once a day, taking care to slide the dental floss as far under the gums as you can without causing pain.
Visit your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year.
Drink lots of water to flush bacteria away from your teeth.
How to treat bad breath that isn’t caused by gingivitis
Gum disease isn’t the only thing that can cause bad breath. Things like dry mouth, certain medical conditions and medicines can also be the culprit. Many of above tips can help control your bad breath, even if it isn’t caused by gingivitis. Here are some other steps you can take.
Avoid foods and drinks that cause bad breath like onion, garlic, coffee, anchovies, strong cheese and most types of alcohol.
Use mouthwash to neutralize odours.
Drink green tea, which has antibacterial properties that make it ideal for reducing bad breath.
See your doctor if you suspect that your bad breath is caused by a medication or medical condition.