Ask the Dentist: No breakfast a recipe for bad breath

Luch Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast says bad breath can be particularly distressing for teenagers but is preventable

Regular brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash generally leaves your breath smelling minty-fresh
Lucy Stock

MISSING breakfast has been identified as one of the most common causes of bad breath within teenagers. One study found that almost a fifth of participants admitted that they had missed breakfast and of these one in three suffered with bad breath. This means that the teens who skipped breakfast were twice as likely to suffer from bad breath.

Interestingly, only about half of those with bad breath were conscious that they were suffering from it.

"This study is very interesting as bad breath is a common problem throughout the world. Breakfast has always been widely labelled as ‘the most important meal of the day' and the effect of skipping it has long been known to be detrimental to people's diets. But now there’s another reason not to miss breakfast," British Dental Health Foundation chief executive Nigel Carter said.

"Young people who suffer from bad breath may find that it has a significant impact on their normal social interactions as they go through one of the most defining times of their lives. Those who experience this social rejection may exhibit low self-esteem. By being aware of the causes of bad breath it gives people the ability to do something about it."

The research also revealed that not cleaning the tongue thoroughly was another major factor in developing bad breath. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat the teeth, gums and tongue. But bad breath may also be caused by an underlying condition including infections in the throat, nose or lungs; sinusitis; bronchitis; diabetes; liver or kidney problems.

"We probably all know someone who has bad breath, but very few people feel brave enough to discuss the problem. It is obviously a very delicate matter to tell someone they have bad breath. However, once a person knows they have bad breath, they can get to the bottom of the problem and deal with it.” Dr Carter said.

To ward off bad breath, visit the dentist for a check up. Brush twice a day every day and use a mouthwash like Ultradex. Try cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper to remove any smelly bacteria. Clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental' brushes – brushing alone only cleans about 60 per cent of the surface of your teeth.


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