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Good oral hygiene vital for good oral and general health. It is important to have an oral hygiene regimen at home supplemented with regular visits to your dentist or hygienist. Take advice from your dentist or hygienist periodically on the latest preventive measures that should be undertaken to ensure good oral health.

What is it?

Bad breath is usually caused by bacteria in the mouth and is not usually a sign of general ill health.
Gum disease can cause bad breath.  But you could still have bad breath with good oral hygiene, and healthy teeth and gums.  The smell then usually comes from the far back of the tongue.  It gets stronger as you talk, as your mouth gets drier.
Most adults occasionally suffer from bad breath; perhaps a quarter have it regularly.  If you are worried about bad breath, please talk to your dentist. You dentist will:

  1. Work out whether you really have a bad-breath problem; and
  2. Find out what sort of problem it is and help you deal with it.

What can my dentist do?

Make sure, before you see your dentist, that you have not done anything to hide the normal smell of your breath.  Do not smoke, chew gum or use a month rinse, and avoid any sort of perfume; do not clean your teeth immediately before your appointment.
Your dentist might use a plastic spoon to gently scrape the back of your tongue and test the smell.  There are also instruments that measure sulphur compounds in the mouth or swelling around the gums.
Good oral hygiene will usually be the answer to a bad-breath problem.  A scale and polish from your dentist or hygienist makes it easier for you to keep your mouth clean at home.

What can I do myself?

  1. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Use floss or other oral hygiene aids if your dentist or hygienist recommends them.  You can check bad breath by smelling the floss after you have used it.  If there is a smell from a particular part of the mouth, clean that area with special care.
  3. Gently brush your tongue if it is heavily coated.  Special plastic tongue scrapers can be bought from chemists.

A mouth will smell less if it is moist.  Chewing sugar-free gum can help with bad breath by increasing the flow of saliva.  You might have a dry mouth because you breathe with your mouth open or because you are taking certain medicines.

If you smoke, try to give up.  As well as making your breath smell better, giving up smoking will keep you mouth and gums healthy, and benefit your general health


Ghauri Dental Centre
Shepherds Bush
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1-3 Wormholt Road
London W12 0LU
Tel: 020 8746 1500 / 020 8743 4065
Fax: 020 8749 6464
Nearer station are Shepherds Bush
(Central line and Over ground) and Shepherds Bush Market Station
(Circle line and Hammersmith and City Line).
Bus: 207, 607, 283

Ghauri Dental Centre
Notting Hill Gate
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247 Westbourne Grove
London W11 2SE
Tel: 020 7229 4813 / 020 7229 7071
Fax: 020 7229 0163
Near to Notting Hill Gate
Underground station and Bayswater.
Bus: 23

Ghauri Dental Centre
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113 Vicarage Farm Road
Hounslow TW5 0AA
Tel: 020 8570 0435 / 020 8230 6258
Fax: 020 8570 0131
Near to Hounslow West
Underground Station and Heathrow
Bus: H32, 482, H91

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Last Updated: 28 Nov 2019