How To Tell If You Have Bad Breath

Unless we notice the signs, we may not be aware that our breath smells bad.

Most of us have probably done it at some time or another; eaten a meal before we go out that contains garlic, and then, unsure if our breath smells or not, breathe quickly out then sniff the air we expel.

“Yes, no problem”, we are almost certain to think if we do that, but the reality is that our breath dispels so quickly and mixes with the air around it, that most smells will go undetected and we may well be socialising with others unaware of our smelly breath.

There are a couple of ways that might help our Clapham patients discover if they have bad breath or not. If you run your tongue along the inside of the wrist (but not if using perfume there) and then smell your wrist; if you find that that smells, then it is very likely that your breath will smell badly too.

The other way is more obvious, but also too late for that occasion, and that is when you notice people inching away from you when you are talking to them.

What to do about bad breath

There are two main causes of bad breath (although other medical conditions or side effects of medication could also cause it). These are temporary bad breath caused by what we eat and drink, and that caused by gum disease. Temporary bad breath is just that. It is largely within our control, and, as we know, certain foods such as garlic, cigarettes and coffee can leave strong smells on our breath. If we are going to be in a situation where we are in close contact with others, it is easy enough to avoid these foods and make sure that we have fresh smelling breath when we leave the house.

The other cause is more difficult to remove, and that is the type of bad breath which is caused by gum disease.

Gum disease and bad breath – diagnosis and treatment in Clapham

If you have been told, or suspect, that you have bad breath (also known as halitosis); presuming that it isn’t food related, the only way to find out for sure if gum disease is the cause, and what to do about it, is to arrange to see a dentist at the Confidental Clinic who can examine you.  We advise you to do this as soon as you can as gum disease is progressive and requires different treatments at different stages of development.

Providing that your gum issues are diagnosed at a relatively early stage, it can mostly be reversed and managed through a programme of ‘scale and polish’, performed by the hygienist. Once this has been done, your breath should improve. You will, of course, need to maintain good gum health afterwards, and the hygienist will advise how best to do this. You will also need to have a scale and polish every six months or so.

Deep clean/root scaling

If the problem has become more advanced and has reached the stage of periodontitis, it may sometimes be too late for a scale and polish to offer sufficient benefits and you may need to have a deep clean, or ‘root scaling’. This is a much more invasive treatment that requires cleaning down to the roots of the teeth and sometimes the surrounding bone tissue too. Bad breath can be unpleasant and anti social, but where gum disease becomes advanced, there are more serious potential consequences. Periodontitis not only affects our gums but the bone tissue too. This causes teeth to become loose and they may even fall out where the problem is severe enough.

Gum disease is not hard to avoid, or at least to minimise. Not only should you brush and floss your teeth well, but also see the hygienist at our Clapham dental clinic at least every six months to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

If you have not had this done before, or have fallen out of the habit, we advise you to arrange to have this done as soon as possible by calling the Confidental Clinic for an appointment on 020 7801 9060.