Bad breath can cause major embarrassment, however the condition is easily treatable, dentists have said.
According to the Irish Dental Association (IDA), 25% of the population suffer from chronic bad breath (halitosis) and in the vast majority of cases, the origin of the problem is in the oral cavity.
In fact, one of the warning signs of periodontal (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. These bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums.
The IDA said that an increase in the incidence of halitosis may be down to new diet plans and the fact that people are retaining their own teeth for longer.
"The issue very often is that people do not realise they have this condition and of course if that is the case they won't bother seeking treatment. Not alone can it cause major embarrassment, 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. It will help them health wise, socially and even professionally," commented Cork-based dentist, Dr Mairead Browne.
She said that good oral health is key to preventing this condition.
"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. Eighty per cent of all Irish adults qualify for a free annual examination so if concerned, just make an appointment with your dentist," Dr Browne added.
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