Common ailments

Halitosis

I have been suffering with bad breath for the past few years and it’s now affecting my social and professional life. I don’t smoke and I always brush my teeth thoroughly twice a day. I also use dental floss and mouthwash and I even use my toothbrush to clean my tongue, but the problem still persists.

Persistent bad breath or halitosis is a common problem affecting most people at some point in their life. There are a number of possible causes but it is usually the result of poor oral hygiene and a build up of bacteria in the mouth. Problems with the airways or stomach can also lead to bad breath.

It sounds as though you maintain good oral hygiene so the fact that you’ve been suffering with bad breath for some years suggests there might be an underlying problem. Persistent bad breath is sometimes a sign of gum disease so it may be worth visiting your dentist for a check up if you haven’t had one in the last six months. If your dentist is satisfied that your dental hygiene routine is good and that it is unlikely your oral health is the problem then I’d advise that you visit your GP. There may be a medical cause for your bad breath which your GP will be able to investigate.

Quite often, the culprit is a species of fungus known as candida albicans which can grow around the internal organs of the digestive system. Other medical conditions that can cause halitosis include diabetes, infections of the throat, nose or lungs, as well as kidney and liver problems.

As well as maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, try to ensure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet which includes fresh fruit and vegetables. Make sure you’re also drinking plenty of fluids and avoid too much alcohol and coffee.

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