WELCOME to our first exclusive online dental column with Dr Aisha Ahmed, of Sale Dental Spa.

In her first column, Dr Ahmed deals with a common problem — bad breath.

BAD breath is a problem affecting millions of people around the world, but in many cases, just a few small changes can remove the cause and leave you feeling fresh and confident.

Oral hygiene

One of the main causes of bad breath is poor oral hygiene, which allows bacteria to build up on your teeth, tongue and gums. This bacteria is also responsible for the development of gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly is the first step to removing bacteria that can cause bad breath. This daily care can help to remove any lingering traces of food, preventing the build up of bacteria and plaque around the teeth and gums that causes odour.

Bacteria also live on your tongue and cheeks, but these are often neglected during daily oral hygiene routines. By ensuring you clean these areas thoroughly every day, you can help to prevent the development of bad breath and remove any bacteria that could lead to additional health problems.

Food habits

To tackle bad breath, it can also be helpful to avoid certain types of food and drink. Foods like garlic and onion are strong contributors to bad breath, and can only be masked by brushing and the use of mouthwash. Instead, you’ll have to wait for them to be expelled by the body before you can completely remove the odour. However, if you have these foods infrequently then it’s helpful to chew on sugar-free gum after your meal, which will help to reduce the odour.


Smoking is another top cause for bad breath, and it can also permanently stain your teeth. Regular smoking is a leading cause of gum disease, which can result in strong odour and tooth decay. By stopping smoking, you can begin to tackle the problem alongside your dentist, who can remove any plaque that has developed on your teeth or between teeth and gums.

Medical problems

Of course, it’s possible that your problem is due to an established medical problem, such as sinusitis, bronchitis, diabetes or any other issue affecting your tonsils and mouth. If your dentist confirms your mouth is generally healthy, it might be time to consult a doctor to determine if there are any other problems causing bad breath.

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Do you have a question for Dr Ahmed? Email sam.editorial@messengergrp.co.uk