Thursday 13th January 2014. Dentists have urged anyone who suffers from halitosis or chronic bad breath to take preventative action in advance of that big date on Valentine’s Day.
Twenty five per cent of the population suffer from the condition which affects men and women equally. However women are more likely to seek treatment for the condition more quickly than men.
Dr Sean Malone, President of the Irish Dental Association said that usually the condition is easily treatable once people realise they have it.
“Often people are not aware that they are suffering from this condition and of course if that is the case they don’t bother seeking treatment. Not alone can it cause major embarrassment and disappointment for people on big dates but it can also be a sign of gum disease. If you think this may be the case for a friend or family member you should mention it to them privately. You will be doing them a favour dentally and socially” Dr Malone said.
In eighty five per cent of cases the origin of the malodour is the oral cavity. One of the warning signs of gum disease is persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, 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.
Natural teeth provide a better breeding ground for bacteria than that of dentures and every square centimetre of the mouth contains over one billion bacteria. Given that there are around 500 different types of bacteria present in a healthy mouth dentists say it is important to prevent a build up of the bad bacteria.
“If you want to avoid a discussion about good versus bad bacteria over that special candlelight dinner the best thing you can do is brush your 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. Eighty per cent of all Irish adults qualify for a free annual examination so if concerned, just make an appointment” Dr Malone said.