Persistent bad breath or halitosis can have a serious impact on a person's social interactions and self-esteem. In addition, it may signal the presence of underlying dental, gum or other diseases. The treatment of halitosis depends, therefore, very much on the cause of the problem.
Treatment of bad breath is usually provided by dentists and dental hygienists, especially if the cause of the condition is oral and originating in the teeth or gums. Approaches to treating halitosis include:
Improving dental hygiene
One of the best ways to treat and prevent bad breath is by improving oral hygiene, which can be achieved through:
- Brushing the teeth and cleaning the gums at least twice a day and using a mouth wash after brushing
- Rinsing the mouth thoroughly after each meal to remove residual food particles
- Flossing the teeth at least once a day to clean areas between the teeth where food may become stuck
- Cleaning the tongue with a soft bristled brush
- Cleaning dentures: Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before re-inserting into the mouth. Dentures should be using denture cleaning tablets, cream or soap and lukewarm water. A separate toothbrush to the one used for teeth cleaning should be used to clean the dentures. The teeth and mouth also need to be cleaned before the dentures are reinserted.
- Consuming less of the sugary and sticky foods that tend to stick to the insides of the teeth and mouth
Lifestyle modifications include
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding excess alcohol
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Avoiding strong flavoured foods such as spices, onions, garlic, cabbages and cauliflowers.
- Cutting down on sugary drinks such as Cola
- Drinking plenty of water to prevent lack of saliva flow and drying of the mouth
- Chewing sugar-free gum after eating to increase saliva formation and wash away remnant food particles
- Regular dental health checkups and plaque removal
- Treating any periodontal disease, gingivitis or tooth decay
- Treating any liver, gastrointestinal, metabolic, or respiratory diseases
- Taking antibiotics to treat infections of the tonsils and respiratory tract
- Using masking agents to hide bad breath such as mouth wash and chewing gum