Preventing bad breath

I brush twice daily, but I have really bad breath. I even use two brands of toothpaste. How can I avoid having bad breath? — Anonymous

Bad breath can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health


It can be affected by foods with strong odours (garlic, onions et cetera). Brushing and flossing may cover the odour temporarily, however it does not eliminate the problem. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath.

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Dental caries and poorly fitting dental appliances like crowns and dentures may also cause bad breath. Sometimes, dry mouth, wherein there is insufficient saliva, can be the cause of bad breath. Other systemic diseases such as respiratory tract infections, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, liver and kidney diseases may contribute to bad breath.

Bad breath can be reduced or prevented.

1. Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat. Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day.

2. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly before being placed in your mouth the next morning.

3. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco-based products.

4. Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best.

5. See a dentist first. He or she will conduct an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning and will be able to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odour. If bad mouth is caused due to other systemic problems, then he/she will refer you to general physician concerned.


• Dr Sanduk Ruit

Medical Director, Tilganga Eye Hospital

• Dr Bhagwan Koirala

Cardiac Surgeon,TUTH

• Prof Upendra Devkota

Chief of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences

• Dr Kundu Yangzom

Chief of OBGYN Services, Patan Hospital

• Dr Kishore Pandey

Pediatrician, CIWEC

• Dr Sameer Aryal

Dentist, Advanced Dental Care

• Prof Dr Dwarika P Shrestha

Head of Dermatology Department, Teaching Hospital and Consultant, Dermato-Venereologist, B&B Hospital

• Dr Ranjeet S Baral

Consultant cardiologist, GP and Aeromedical Examiner at Ganga Lal, VAYODHA, Advanced Polyclinic and Norvic Hospital

• Dr Prativa Shrestha Das is a Consultant Dermatologist and Aesthetician at Vayodha Hosptial, Balkhu

• Dr Dilip Das is a Dentist at Vayodha Hospital, Balkhu

• Dr Bharat Rawat is Consultant Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology Department at Norvic International Hospital Kathmandu, Tripureshwor

• Dr Uttam Kumar Sharma, is Associate Professor of Urology at TU Teaching Hospital and Urologist and Kidney Transplant Surgeon at Chirayu Hospital and Medical Institute, Basundhara, Kathmandu

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