Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects one third of the UK population according to figures from the UK’s Oral Health Foundation. The two most common causes include gum disease and tongue coating (overgrowth of odour-causing bacteria on the tongue). Morning bad breath is simply caused by the decrease in saliva production during the night, which means the bacteria that cause bad breath aren’t washed away. On rare occasions, bad breath may be related to general health conditions.
To check if gum disease is the cause of the bad breath, it’s a good idea to get a gum health screen. If that’s the case, then the gum condition will need to be treated to eliminate the bad breath. For tongue coating, cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a special tongue scraper can reduce the number of bad-breath causing bacteria on the tongue. Mouthwash may help as a breath freshener. The key active ingredients proven to have the most beneficial effect on bad breath include: chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride and zinc.