Friday - - Advice -

QI suf­fer from se­vere bad breath. I have been us­ing sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of tooth­pastes but noth­ing seems to work. I have no ma­jor prob­lems with my teeth such as sen­si­tiv­ity or de­cay or cav­i­ties. Please help!

ABad breath or hal­i­to­sis is a con­di­tion that can cause con­sid­er­able so­cial em­bar­rass­ment. Even though there are some med­i­cal con­di­tions such as si­nus in­fec­tions with post-nasal drip, di­a­betes or acid re­flux that can lead to bad breath, the most com­mon cause is poor den­tal health, es­pe­cially when you have a gum dis­ease (pe­ri­odon­ti­tis).

I don’t know whether you have had an oral ex­am­i­na­tion to rule out any gum dis­ease. The warn­ing signs are bleed­ing when you brush or floss, swelling of the gums and itch­i­ness or pain in the gums. In case you have gum dis­ease, it is im­por­tant that you visit a den­tist to get the con­di­tion di­ag­nosed and treated be­fore it can cause more dam­age to the gums and the sup­port­ing bone.

Bad breath can oc­cur if you have a dry mouth. Make sure you drink ad­e­quate quan­ti­ties of wa­ter (at least two litres) dur­ing the day to keep your mouth moist. You may also use sug­ar­less chew­ing gum. Mon­i­tor your food and med­i­ca­tions to no­tice if any of them are caus­ing bad breath. Avoid smok­ing, tobacco prod­ucts and eat­ing foods such as those with a lot of gar­lic and onion in them.

To avoid bad breath, make sure you brush your teeth and tongue af­ter a big meal. It is also very im­por­tant that you floss your teeth at least once a day as gum dis­ease most com­monly starts be­tween the teeth. You could use an an­ti­sep­tic mouth­wash that is al­co­hol-free.

You should visit a den­tist at least twice a year for an oral exam and pro­fes­sional clean­ing to pre­vent or treat any gum dis­ease.

Dr Joy Antony lead­ing or­tho­don­tist in Dubai

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