Bad breath is not just a side effect of bad oral hygiene, a dentist has said.
Many people are careful when it comes to looking after their teeth. Not only is this vital for preventing tooth decay, but bad breath – or halitosis – is an unwanted consequence. However, smelly breath could be a sign of something very different.
One expert spoke to Express.co.uk to explain more.
Cosmetic dentist, Doctor Sam Jethwa, said halitosis is usually due to hygiene.
He said: “Bad breath, or halitosis as it’s known medically, is often caused by poor oral health habits and can be a sign of more serious dental problems.
“The food we eat is broken down in our mouth and then absorbed into our bloodstream so it stands to reason that eating foods that contain a strong odour such as garlic or onions causes your breath to smell.
“Whilst brushing your teeth and flossing can temporarily help the smell fade, it won’t usually disappear completely until the foods have passed through your body. This is not anything to worry about.”
However, he warned that it could signal a separate issue with diet.
“Another common cause of bad breath is people on a diet who are not eating enough,” he said.
“This is because when your body breaks down fat, chemicals are released that can cause your breath to smell bad.”
Ketone is one of the chemicals released when the body burns fat, which can smell fruity.
According to Dental Fundamentals, not eating regularly can also cause a smell due to a lack of saliva.
It says: “A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath and dry mouths are much more common when you aren’t eating or drinking.
“Saliva is produced when you are eating or drinking.
“The saliva in your mouth helps to control your breath with some fluid consistency and pH. It washed away food particles, keeps sulphur compounds under control, and works as a natural agent to fight bad breath.
“A dry mouth with little salvia means a stagnate mouth with bad breath. Going too long without eating lowers your saliva production and flow.
“The lower the flow gets, the drier your mouth and the worse your breath.
“This is why most people wake up with ‘morning breath’ because they go all night without eating or drinking and they wake up with a dry mouth.”
How to tackle bad breath
“By maintaining a good oral health routine with regular brushing and flossing, you can help to eliminate most types of breath,” Dr Jethwa said.
“If, however, the problem persists it’s important you visit a medical practitioner in order to investigate further.”
He warned that oral hygiene is still a major cause of bad breath.
“When food particles remain in your mouth, bacteria grows between the teeth, gums and on the tongue,” he said. “This bacterial growth results in bad breath.”