Halitosis: how to prevent bad breath

Written by: Dr Neesha Patel
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Bad breath is widespread but still a commonly taboo subject. Many people are embarrassed to report they have halitosis and it is likely that more people suffer with it than we know. It is estimated that 15-50% of the adult population has it in the UK.

There are many possible causes of bad breath, from morning breath, smoking, certain foods and drinks to poor oral hygiene. Thankfully, expert periodontist Dr Neesha Patel is here with her top tips on how to prevent the embarrassing mouth odour!

How can I prevent halitosis (bad breath)?

A specialist may refer you to a dental hygienist who will review your methods for tooth brushing, interdental cleaning, tongue cleaning and other oral hygiene products. If you wear dentures specific advice will be provided on how to keep them clean. Some key points to consider in preventing halitosis are:

  • Even if you have excellent brushing and interdental cleaning, bacteria on the surface of the tongue is a common cause of bad breath. It is therefore important to gently scrape the tongue each day to ensure the bacterial deposit is removed.
  • You should visit the dentist and hygienist regularly to help prevent halitosis.
  • As well as concentrating on oral hygiene you should review your diet; try to eliminate foods known to be linked to bad breath. Also, ensure you are well hydrated to help with a dry mouth.
  • Stopping smoking will not only help prevent bad breath but is the best thing you can do for your general health.

Read more: what causes bad breath?

Should I see a specialist?

Seeking expert advice if you notice bad breath is important. The specialist will take a medical history and history of the complaint, including how it is affecting you, the severity, timing and duration of the halitosis, and look for possible lifestyle causes.

Next, an intra-oral assessment is completed to look for possible causes, this includes checking the teeth for signs of decay or abscess, checking the gums for signs of gingivitis or periodontitis and the soft tissues for signs of infections or suspected cancer. The saliva production will be assessed to check for dry mouth as well as checking your overall oral hygiene.


Do not hesitate to book an appointment with Dr Patel if you’re concerned about your oral health.

By Dr Neesha Patel

Dr Neesha Patel is a leading consultant periodontist in London who is also the Clinical Director at Pure Periodontics clinic. She specialises in laser periodontics and all aspects of gum health including receding gum, gum disease and gummy smile treatment.

Dr Patel has worked in both general practice and hospital settings, including restorative dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery. She gained postgraduate qualifications from the FGDP of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and has since gained a Masters in Clinical Dentistry (Periodontics) from Queen Mary University with distinction.

She also successfully completed the Membership in Restorative Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh examination and was awarded specialist status by the General Dental Council. Dr Patel lectures extensively on continuing education courses and newly-qualified dentists.

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