Bad Breath (Halitosis): Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Everybody has bad breath from time to time, especially first thing in the morning. Saliva has a cleaning action that helps reduce or get rid of bad breath. When you have less saliva, bacteria can grow, causing bad breath. The flow of saliva almost stops during sleep.

Many other things can cause bad breath, such as missing meals, being dehydrated, or eating foods with a strong odour, such as garlic. Other causes include throat or mouth infections (such as strep throat), dental problems (such as cavities), and gum disease. Bad breath can also be caused by medical problems, such as kidney disease.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Mouth care

  • Gargle with water.
  • Floss your teeth once each day.
  • Use a mouthwash for temporary relief of bad breath. Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Brush your teeth, tongue, roof of the mouth, and gums at least twice a day with toothpaste.
  • Remove dentures, removable bridges, partial plates, or orthodontic appliances and clean them once each day or as directed by your dentist. Pieces of food and germs can collect on these appliances and cause bad breath.

Healthy lifestyle

  • Eat a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products, such as snuff or chewing (spit) tobacco.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that cause bad breath, such as garlic and alcohol.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Dieting or missing meals can decrease saliva and cause bad breath.
  • Chew sugar-free gum, suck on sugar-free mints, or drink water, especially if your mouth is dry. Try using breath sticks, which contain the ingredients found in a mouthwash and dissolve in your mouth.

Doctor visits

  • Have regular dental checkups.
  • Make an appointment to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) if you have frequent problems with mouth odour.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 9, 2016