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Duelling the dragon (breath)

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Duelling the Dragon (Breath) – Live Great – Great Eastern Life

We all get bad breath once in a while – particularly after eating strong smelling foods or first thing when we wake up in the morning. Usually, brushing your teeth or giving your mouth a good rinse with mouthwash can easily remedy ‘dragon’s breath’. But for some people, chronic bad breath can be an embarrassing and distressing problem. But bad breath or halitosis can be easily dealt with. Good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, and being aware of foods, medications and other factors can help tame the ‘dragon’.

What causes bad breath?

Very simply, bad breath is caused by the buildup of bacteria in your mouth. The bacterium, as it breaks down and feeds off scraps of food in your mouth, causes inflammation and gives off bad smells. Bad breath causing bacteria can live in cavities, cracked filings and dentures, in the folds of your tonsils. Gum disease, which is the inflammation of the gums also due to bacteria build-up, can also lead to bad breath.

In some cases, medical conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, sinus problems, acid reflux, chronic bronchitis and chronic dry mouth, can also cause unpleasant breath. See your dentist or doctor to rule out any of these causes.

It’s quite hard to know if you have bad breath – people may be too embarrassed to say and you may be too shy to ask. But you can check by smelling your dental floss after you have used it – gross maybe, but it’s a discreet way to pick up any potential pong. Another way is to lick your hand and smell it after your saliva dries.

Dealing with bad breath
If you have bad breath or worry that you do, it’s likely that you already know this – but it’s worth repeating: brush your teeth twice a day, floss well and see your dentist at least twice a year.

Here are some other ways to banish bad breath:

  • Drink plenty of water: Water – and we mean plain water, not sugary drinks – can help swill out odour-causing bacteria and food bits from your mouth. Keeping your mouth hydrated can also combat bad breath caused by dry mouth. A little milk can also ‘deodorise’ strong smells, but be sure to rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Avoid too much coffee: Coffee smells are hard to eliminate from your breath and can turn sweet smelling breath sour-smelling in a shot. Coffee also stains teeth. If you must drink coffee, brush your teeth well afterwards or gargle with water. Another way to prevent coffee from staining and causing foul breath is to reach for a sugar free breath mint or ‘nature’s toothbrushes’.
  • Brush with food: One great alternative to breath mints – that only mask odours – is to eat foods that can help clean your teeth. Crunching on apples, carrots, celery sticks and plain popcorn can scrub your teeth clean and cleanse the breath.
  • Don’t smoke: Cigarettes are often one of the biggest causes of bad breath – in addition to being a huge health risk.
  • Watch your mouthwash: Minty mouthwashes can freshen breath – but some do only temporarily and can even worsen breath if they contain alcohol. Choose an antiseptic or antibacterial rinse that kills bacteria and is free of alcohol that can dry the mouth.

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