News, Views and Advice

Are you mistletoe ready this year? 27-11-2017

As the festive season looms before us, many of us are keen to ensure we look our best. You might be shopping for a new outfit, or digging out something sparkly from last year. In addition to looking your best, you’re sure to want to feel fabulous too. This week we’d like to bring you some top tips on ensuring super-fresh breath at those Christmas parties, so that you can feel as great as you look.

At one point or another, we all suffer from bad breath. There can be many factors that contribute towards this. Thousands of bacteria live in our mouths: they live on our tongues, at the back of our throats, and on our tonsils. Like other living organisms, these bacteria eat, and then secrete their waste. The waste produced is made up of a mixture of different chemical compounds and combined, these don’t smell good! Without care and attention, these smells can then be carried on our breath, which can be quite unpleasant.

As individuals, our mouths are all different from one another, which can affect the extent of the problem. In particular, the make up of our tongues can have a strong influence. If your tongue is especially rough, for example, then there are more places for bacteria to hide. As well as lurking in the nooks and crannies of your tongue, bacteria also enjoy nestling in the fibres on the top surface of the tongue. And whilst some people might have tongues that are particularly rough, others have more fibres on top of their tongues that provide the perfect home and breeding ground for bacteria.

In addition to factors relating to the features of our tongue, the Oral Health Foundation describe a range of other possible causes of bad breath. It can, for example, be very easy for small food particles to get trapped in between our teeth and gums. Over time, these particles begin to rot, and of course, this doesn’t smell too good. There are also medical conditions such as Xerostamia (dry mouth) which can contribute to oral odours. With this condition, our mouths produce less saliva. Saliva plays a key role in washing away bacteria, and so with less present in your mouth, it is harder for bacteria to be moved on. Instead it lingers, and causes unpleasant smells. Several factors cause us to have dry mouth: certain medications, problems with our salivary glands, and breathing continuously through your mouth instead of your nose. In our older years, we naturally produce less saliva.

Whilst there are many reasons why we might suffer from bad breath, we need to take a ‘whole mouth’ approach to beating this problem. We recommend the following tips that will help reduce the likelihood of your breath becoming less that pleasant:

  • Keep up your regular dentist check-ups, and let your dentist know if you suffer from bad breath.
  • Keep a note of the food and drink you have consumed, alongside any medications you are taking. This information will be helpful to your discussions with your dentist.
  • Ensure you brush your teeth twice every day. Interdental brushes, or dental floss, can be used at least once a day to reach the areas between your teeth.
  • Give strongly flavoured foods a wide berth (these may enhance the problem).
  • Try using an anti-bacterial mouthwash to kill off excess bacteria.

Following our tips can help you to prepare for this festive season, and should help freshen up your breath. We hope that you’ll soon be feeling mistletoe ready. If you’re still concerned, however, visit the Oral Health Foundation website, or speak to your dentist, for more support and advice.

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