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Dentists say Valentine’s Day a timely reminder to avail of free annual dental check-up

(08 Feb 2019)

Dentists are urging people who haven’t availed of their free annual dental check-up to do so in advance of Valentines Day to ensure their oral health is in top shape ahead of the annual celebration of romance.

Although eight out of ten Irish adults qualify for a free annual check up and subsidised cleaning either through the Medical Card or PRSI scheme, hundreds of thousands fail to avail of the benefit.

This is despite the fact that twenty-five per cent of the population suffer from chronic bad breath – also known as halitosis. While the condition affects men and women equally, women are more likely to seek treatment for the condition more quickly than men.

Dublin based dentist Dr. Jennifer Collins says that in most cases the condition is easily treatable.

“The issue very often is that people do not realise that they have halitosis and of course if that is the case, they may not even be aware that they need to seek treatment! Unfortunately, it’s well known that bad breath cools the jets of romance and nobody wants their Valentines kiss to leave a bad taste in the mouth! To avoid that kind of embarrassment and disappointment simply book an appointment with your local dentist and avail of the free PRSI or Medical Card annual check-up if you haven’t already done so.”

“If you think this may be the case for a friend or family member you should mention it to them privately. Bad breath can also be a sign of gum disease so you will be helping them health wise, socially and even professionally” Dr. Collins said.

In eighty-five per cent of cases the origin of the foul odour is the oral cavity. One of the warning signs of gum disease is persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Periodontal or gum disease is caused by plaque,… More the sticky, colourless film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. The bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums.

Dentists believe that new diet plans and the fact that people are retaining their natural teeth longer are two of the factors contributing to an increase in the incidence of halitosis. Dr Collins says maintaining a good oral health regime is key to preventing bad breath.

“People should brush their teeth twice a day, floss once a day, drink plenty of water, use mouth rinse and avoid trigger foods such as garlic and onions. Smoking is clearly bad for your health but also for your breath, as is alcohol and coffee.”

“If the problem persists visit your dentist as halitosis can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying condition” she concluded.