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How Do I Know If My Breath Smells?



Have you found yourself thinking, “help. I think my breath may smell unpleasant.”

Do your friends or family turn away when you speak up closely? Have they always got an itchy nose when you are talking?

If any of these are true you may actually have bad breath.

How can you tell if you have bad breath?

Firstly lick the back of your hand, wait a minute for it to dry and then take a sniff. This is what your breath smells like. Did it make you wince? If so you may want to do something about it.

What makes your breath smell?

Bad smells from the oral cavity may come from a number of different reasons:

    • From the tongue
    • Decayed teeth
    • Gum disease
    • Gum infection
    • Plaque retention
    • Food trapping
    • Post nasal drip
    • Tonsillitis
    • Throat infection
    • Gastric reflux (GERD-Gastro espophageal reflux disease)
    • Stomach upset.
    • Dry mouth
    • Diabetes

How can you prevent bad breath?

  1. Firstly you need to ensure there is no waste food trapped in your teeth, by brushing your teeth effectively, flossing or using interdental brushes to remove food/plaque trapped between teeth and brushing your tongue. Yes – I meant to say brush your tongue.
  2. Our tongues have many little indentations on the top (dorsal) surface that gather food, chemicals and bacteria.  If these are not cleaned away they can decay and emit an unpleasant odour.
  3. Use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush with a side-to-side or circular motion to remove any surface build up from your tongue.  If you go front-to-back it can make you gag, which is never pleasant.
  4. Visit your dentist to ensure no tooth decay, gum disease or infection.
  5. See your hygienist regularly to remove any hard build up on teeth and ensure your dental care routine is keeping on top of your maintenance.
  6. If you have regular indigestion with heartburn and a sour tasting reflux, mention to your doctor as you may have GERD and need some medication to alleviate the symptoms.  GERD as well as causing bad breath, can damage teeth with erosion, quite rapidly.
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“Cannot fault the service from this practice. All the staff are warm, friendly and welcoming. The skills and expertise from Claire and her team are second to none. I would have no hesitation recommending it. 😁”

Jo G

Claire Hughes Dental
  • Spencer House
  • L'Derry
  • Northern Ireland
  • BT47 6QA