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Understanding and Preventing Bad Breath

Many of us worry about how our breath smells from time to time. When we first wake up in the morning, when we eat certain foods, or if we have indulged in a sugary drink; keeping on top of our oral hygiene is a natural part of our daily routine. Normal cases of bad breath can be quickly remedied by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.

Persistent bad breath is medically known as ‘halitosis’ and is usually caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque. Plaque is the unpleasant film that covers our teeth and gums; made of bacteria that reacts with ingredients in foods when we eat.

Halitosis can lead to stress and anxiety, particularly when it comes to social interactions. This can have a lasting impact on self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. It’s important to seek help from a dental professional if you are struggling with bad breath, as you may have underlying dental problems that need attention. Here is our guide to what causes bad breath, how it can be remedied by your dentist, and how you can prevent it in the first place!

Poor Oral Hygiene

Neglecting oral hygiene is one of the main causes of bad breath. Forgetting to brush your teeth, running out of mouthwash, or if you’re in a rush one morning and don’t brush properly… These are all factors that contribute to the build-up of bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath.

Maintaining a rigorous oral hygiene routine is key to avoiding persistent bad breath and keeping teeth and gums healthy. Cleaning our teeth properly and regularly ensures we’re removing all the bacteria and debris that can cause halitosis. The same tips for effective dental routines have been promoted by dentists for decades, so you likely already know them! Here they are:

  • The 2 x 2 rule – Brush your teeth twice a day (morning and night), for at least two minutes. Some electric toothbrushes now feature 2-minute timers and connect to smartphone apps!
  • Clean your tongue. The tongue’s textured surface makes it the ideal place for harbouring bacteria. Scrape using the bristles on your toothbrush or invest in a dedicated tongue scraper.
  • Floss every day. Use dental floss before you sleep to remove all the bacteria that may have gathered throughout the day.
  • Use antimicrobial mouthwash. Antimicrobial mouthwashes contain additional ingredients like eucalyptol. These target and eliminate more microorganisms than antibacterialmouthwashes can.
  • Attend regular dental checkups. Everyone should have one every 6 months. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits to monitor your oral health if you have certain conditions.
  • Be consistent! Stick to oral hygiene routines. Make your dental hygiene a priority and follow the advice given by dentists.

Dental Issues

There are a few dental issues linked to bad breath:

  • Gum disease leads to infection, which may emit odorous fluids.
  • Abscesses are caused by infections and are full of unpleasant-smelling pus that needs extracting professionally.
  • Cavities offer bacteria the perfect space to grow, as they are difficult to clean.

If a dental problem is causing halitosis, your dentist will suggest appropriate treatment to resolve it.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause persistent bad breath:

  • Diabetes can cause excess glucose in saliva, feeding bacteria that turns to acid.
  • Kidney disease patients struggle to process waste substances, which can cause their breath to smell like ammonia.
  • Liver disease patients also have difficulties processing waste in the body. These toxins can end up in the bloodstream and breath.

If your dentist suggests persistent dental issues may be caused by a medical issue, contact your GP for help in treating the underlying cause.

Poor Diet

We all know how some foods can make our breath smell! This happens when chemicals react with plaque and increase bacterial growth in the mouth.

  • Sulphuric Compounds – Ingredients like garlic and onion contain sulphur. This chemical has a strong odour that is often compared to rotten eggs.
  • Sugars and Acids – Bacteria feeds on sugar, turning it into acid. This acid can erode teeth if not cleaned off. Acidic foods also contribute to erosion.
  • Drinks – Saliva is essential, as it neutralises odours and acids after we eat. Alcohol and coffee are notorious for causing dry mouth, which is referred to in medical terms as ‘xerostomia’. Without saliva to rinse and neutralise, bacteria can grow – leading to halitosis.

Luckily, we can maintain our dental hygiene by removing bacteria that causes bad breath after a meal. To do this, rinse with water or mouthwash after eating. Wait 30 minutes for your saliva to neutralise any acids or sugars (so you don’t rub them into the teeth) then brush your teeth to remove any residue.


We all know how bad smoking is for our health. It has a major impact on oral health, too. People that smoke are four times more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease than people that don’t smoke. Smoking is also one of the main factors leading to the development of mouth or throat cancers, as around 90% of patients with such cancers are smokers.

Alongside these harmful risks, tobacco has an unpleasant smell that can linger on the breath for hours. It’s also full of toxic chemicals that can damage the mouth and further contribute to halitosis.

How Ringway Dental Can Help Fix & Prevent Bad Breath

It’s best to ensure you are maintaining good oral health by visiting your dentist. They will always be honest about dental issues, as from a medical perspective, halitosis can signify an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

At Ringway Dental, we don’t think anyone should have to suffer persistent bad breath. Our dedicated team of dental professionals are highly experienced in resolving issues such as halitosis, as we develop tailored treatment plans for each patient.

Whether this involves treating the underlying problem, or simply helping patients maintain good oral hygiene with regular check-ups and bespoke, expert advice; we can help. Call our team today on 0161 437 2029 to book an appointment.

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Visit us

  • 187 Finney Lane
  • Heald Green
  • Cheadle
  • Greater
  • Manchester
  • SK8 3PX

Visit us

  • 187 Finney Lane
  • |
  • Heald Green
  • |
  • Cheadle
  • |
  • Greater Manchester
  • |
  • SK8 3PX
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