Bad breath

It is difficult to detect when you have halitosis, or bad breath. But all of us have suffered from getting too close to others with bad breath and have not enjoyed the experience!

The simplest and most effective way to find out if you are suffering from halitosis is to ask someone else to say if and when this is a problem for you.   

There are many causes of bad breath, but the most common is poor oral hygiene, or eating foods that cause your breath to change to an unpleasant odour. Foods and substances that do this are garlic, onions, alcohol and smoking.

Some medical conditions can cause bad breath, such as sinusitis, tonsillitis, an upset stomach, as well as more serious conditions affecting the digestive tract, kidney or liver.  

If you have been told you have halitosis it is important to ensure that your oral hygiene is all it should be. Regular tooth brushing, at least twice a day, flossing, scraping or brushing your tongue gently with a special brush at least daily, and dental check-ups at least annually, are important routines to have.  

People that eat or use substances that taint the breath can use mouthwashes or sugar-free gums to mask unpleasant smells from your breath. Stopping smoking is a key step to improving your breath, as well as other clearly demonstrated health benefits.

If you have tried to treat bad breath and find that persistent bad breath is a problem for you or someone in your family, talk to your community pharmacist. They can advise you about further products to use to treat and prevent halitosis, or refer you for more specialised help to determine if your condition needs some medical or dental treatment to ease your bad breath problems.