The first step towards halitosis treatment, if you are concerned that it is a problem, is seeing the dentist. See the previous page for advice on how can you tell if you have a problem and what causes bad breath.
Read on for lots of advice on getting rid of the problem, in the short-term and over a longer period.
What Helps in The Short-Term?
If you find out that you have halitosis, the following actions may help mask the problem
- Mouthwashes. Long-term use to disguise bad breath is not advised.
- Take foods such as banana, avocado and plain yoghurt, to mask strong food smells.
- Drink milk.
- Drink water, or rinse your mouth with water.
- Chew sugar-free chewing gum, especially after meals.
These actions will only mask or briefly hide malodor, and as such are not a long-term halitosis cure.
Prevention of Halitosis
If bad breath is caused by dental problems, as it often is, then the problem can be quickly cleared and prevented by:
- Proper oral hygiene. Brush thoroughly at least twice a day. Clean between the teeth at least once a day (using floss over even consider a water pik). Use mouth-rinses as advised by your dentist. Clean you tongue gently, using your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Proper oral hygiene alone is, for many, the single best halitosis treatment.
- After eating, rinse out with water or a mouthwash to help quickly clear away food particles. This will help immediately by clearing away the smells associated with some foods. It also helps for hours after by reducing the food available for bacteria to munch on.
- Chewing sugar-free gum will also keep the mouth clean, both physically and by increasing saliva flow. One of the better home remedies!
- Attend the dentist/hygienist (more here) for regular professional cleanings. They will advise you on how often exactly you should attend.
- Attend the dentist for regular check-ups and complete any dental treatment they advise.
- A well known home remedy is using avocado as a cure – But this will only help to mask short term symptoms, eg after eating a pungent food.
- Proper hydration. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to keep your breath healthy by producing lots of saliva.
- Alter your diet if this is a cause of bad breath.
An extra note here. As mentioned above, mouth rinses do have a role to play. They can, as part of an overall oral hygiene routine help to reduce plaque bacteria and food gathering in the mouth.
Also, some are formulated to help tackle gum disease specifically, and available without prescription. These include Breath Rx, Profresh, hydrogen peroxide rinses, Chlorhexidine (Peridex or Corsodyl), Closys and Therabreath. For more on these read here.
However note that mouth rinses alone, even those products aimed at eradicating halitosis, will not cure chronic bad breath!
Smoking causes bad breath, of course. This cannot be prevented unless you stop smoking. By using the above methods, you may mask the smell somewhat, but you can’t completely clear it.
Dentures must be kept clean if you want to keep your mouth healthy and breath fresh. Read our article on keeping dentures clean. Also, remove dentures every night.
Going to Your Dentist
You will need to bring up your concerns about halitosis with the dentist! Otherwise they may not consider it specifically in any management planning they do after checking your mouth. If your teeth need cleaned or you need any other work, this will be done and will directly or indirectly help with bad breath. However for your dentist to be best able to help with your concerns and desires for any bad breath treatment, don’t be afraid to bring them up!
Your dentist will take a history of the problem, including how and when it affects you. They will ask about any dietary and social habit (smoking and alcohol) that may play a role. Your medical history will also be taken to help rule out any medical causes of malodor, including any medication you are taking. This is important, but usually your mouth will hold the clues on any halitosis causes.
Your dentist will fully check your mouth and around including:
- The teeth.
- The gums.
- Your tongue.
- Your palate (the roof of your mouth).
- Lymph nodes of the neck.
- Any smells form your mouth.
Based on what you tell your dentist and the oral examination, your dentist will give you a diagnosis of what they feel is the source of any problem. They will then outline a treatment guide, if the source is dental in origin.
If your dentist suspects a medical problem or some medication is the cause, they may refer you to your family doctor for advice and halitosis treatment.
As always, the sooner you attend the dentist with chronic bad breath, the easier it may be to treat and cure the problem.
Long-term Help From Your Dentist
Specific treatment of bad breath will depend on the cause. Common procedures needed may include:
- Professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar and enable you to better clean your mouth.
- Treatment of any decay and dental infections.
- Extraction of any hopeless teeth.
- Dry mouth. Management may include changing of medications or salivary substitutes – read more here.
- Bad breath is common.
- There are lots of factors that can cause it.
- Your mouth (and any problems within it) are the most likely cause.
- May indicate a serious health problem.
- Contact your dentist for advice and halitosis treatment.
- Follow advice on proper oral hygiene.