Bad breath fears affect millions of Brits

It's something that affects most of us from time to time. But if new research from teeth whitening brand White Glo is anything to go by, more than 21 million people in this country dread having bad breath.

Bad breath can vary from one person to another. Some may just have bad breath when they get up in the morning, while the NHS says an estimated one in four is thought to be affected by persistent bad breath – or halitosis, which means they get bad breath on a regular basis.

However, while the White Glo survey claims 20 percent of us rely on mints and chewing gum to mask bad breath, only 48 percent of UK adults brush their teeth the recommended twice a day

“While trapped food particles can contribute to bad breath, the most common cause is the build-up of plaque on teeth,” says White Glo expert James Buchannan.

“The research clearly shows not enough people are keeping up the required oral health routines to avoid bad breath.

Brushing your teeth twice a day should be the first step to reduce the worry of bad breath, says Buchannan, as brushing and flossing regularly can help remove trapped food particles as well as reduce plaque. But there are other common causes of bad breath too, including smoking, eating spicy and strongly flavoured foods, and drinking alcohol or coffee. Certain medicines may also cause bad breath – speak to your local Careway pharmacist if you think you’ve developed bad breath as a result of taking medicines.

What can you do?

According to Buchannan there are plenty of things you can do to reduce bad breath or even help prevent it:

1. Start the day with a glass of water to wash away bad bacteria and reduce dry mouth, which causes bad breath. Staying hydrated throughout the day will keep bad breath under control.

2. Follow a glass of water with a high-fibre breakfast. Skipping the first meal of the day means saliva isn’t produced, causing the mouth to dry out. Choose high-fibre foods such as fruit to increase saliva production. Add yoghurt to further neutralise bacteria and counteract bad odours.

3. If you use mouthwash, choose one without alcohol, as alcohol significantly dries the mouth out.

4. Snacking on celery sticks, carrots and apples also increase saliva, which reduces dry mouth and washes away odour causing particles.

5. After-dinner mints are a popular way to expel bad breath but bacteria in the mouth use sugar to make acid. The acid wears teeth down and leads to bad breath, so stick to a sugar-free gum instead.

6. Using a soft bristle toothbrush will also prevent teeth from being worn down. Hard toothbrushes tend to damage the enamel, which can eventually lead to tooth decay and bad breath.

“These tips should be used in conjunction with a good brushing routine,” adds Buchannan. “Make sure you change your toothbrush every month to avoid spreading bad bacteria around your mouth.”

Your local Careway pharmacist can recommend oral health products to help you fight and prevent bad breath, as well as offer lifestyle tips that may also be useful. It’s also a good idea to see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.