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Boots pharmacist Meera Joshi helps us get to the bottom of those irritating niggles
Meera says: ‘Bad breath is often asked about in the pharmacy. In many cases, it’s down to people’s oral hygiene – if bacteria are left to build up in your mouth, the gases they produce cause breath to smell. That’s why it’s so important to brush teeth thoroughly twice a day and to floss between them regularly – any food trapped in your teeth is broken down by bacteria, which can lead to some unpleasant-smelling gases if the bacteria and food aren’t brushed away. People often neglect their tongues, too, so gently clean yours regularly with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush, as a coating of bacteria can remain there.
If you still notice bad breath after making these hygiene tweaks, make an appointment to see your dentist, as it could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as gum disease: look out for red, swollen or bleeding gums after brushing or flossing. As not everyone has the symptoms, regular dental check-ups are the best way to protect yourself – your dentist will advise you on how often these should be.
Most people have some degree of ‘morning breath’. It’s normal and usually clears when the flow of saliva increases after eating breakfast
We all know our diets can also contribute to bad breath (strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic, and drinking alcohol and coffee are the main culprits), but don’t worry, it’s usually temporary and can be prevented simply by avoiding these triggers. You could try chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking. Although there’s no conclusive research that gum prevents bad breath, it will speed up saliva production and this helps clear the mouth of any debris after a meal.
Fasting and low-carb diets can also lead to odd-smelling breath. They cause the body to break down fat, which produces chemicals called ketones that have a sickly-sweet smell. Finally, most people have some degree of “morning breath”. It’s perfectly normal and happens because your mouth tends to get dry and stagnates overnight. It usually clears when the flow of saliva increases after you start to eat breakfast. In rare cases, bad breath can be the result of a medical condition or a particular medication, so check with your GP if you’re concerned.’
Four easy ways to get fresh!
Not sure if you have bad breath? Lick the inside of your wrist and wait a few seconds until the saliva dries. If your wrist smells unpleasant, it’s likely your breath does, too. For an instant fresh-breath feel, try CB12 Boost Strong Mint Chewing Gum, £5/500 points (10-pack).Add
Make some space in your bathroom cabinet for Dentek Easy Brush Interdental Cleaners ISO1, £4/400 points (10-pack), which help get rid of the gunk between your teeth.Add
Daily use of the Orabrush Tongue Cleaner, £5.20/520 points, will help keep your mouth fresh.Add
‘I’d tried everything to get rid of my bad breath. I get tonsillitis regularly and my doctor told me about tonsil stones – basically, they’re hardened balls of debris, including bacteria, that smell really bad! They’re tricky to remove, but gargling with warm water can help to loosen them.’* Izzy Jones, 25, London *If this isn’t effective, see your GP for advice.
Compiled by Charlotte Grant-West Photography Matthew Walder, Pixeleyes
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Boots Health & Beauty digital magazine is published by Redwood on behalf of Boots and built by Rhapsody Ltd. (c) Redwood Publishing Ltd 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means) without the written permission of the copyright owner. Applications for the copyright owner’s permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to Redwood Ltd, Bankside 3, 90 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SW.
Group editor-in-chief Rachael Ashley Editor Helen Daly Associate editor Julia Martin Group art director Darren Siveter Senior art editor Louisa Edge Designer Mairead Gleeson Picture editor Alice Patient Chief sub-editor Carrie Sizer Acting chief sub-editor Martina Walsh Acting deputy chief sub-editor Danielle Richardson Features director Danielle Hine Features writer Charlotte Grant-West Beauty director Donna Francis Editorial assistant Abbie Skliarsky Business director Catherine Bourke Account director Sophie Horne Senior account manager Emma Ferguson Acting senior account manager Rachel Cramond Sales director Rachel Joy Senior advertising manager Michelle Daburn Senior sales executives Emily Plank, Jasmin Sangha Advertising creative manager Ana Jevric Print project manager Sammie McCarthy Chief executive Sara Cremer Executive creative director Paul Kurzeja Managing partner Clare Hersey Acting managing partner Taranjit Moore-Jones
For Boots Katie Barber, Deborah Barnard, Katie Harrison, Kelly Holgate, Michelle Pytlakowska