- Bad breath caused by dry mouth
- More likely in winter time
- Cheese could cause bad breath
- Coffee, alcohol, cabbage and brussels sprouts also lead to bad breath
Bad breath could be caused by having a dry mouth, as saliva helps to keep harmful germs and bacteria away, Katz said.
Dry mouth becomes more common in winter, as more people stay inside with the heating on. Gas and oil burners pump out dry air, which could lead to a dry mouth.
Cold and flu medicines can also cause more cases of ‘winter breath’, as they too lead to dry mouth, he said.
Eating too much cheese could also cause bad breath, as it contains lots of proteins which bacteria like to feed on, the dentist added.
“A festive cheeseboard will also cause issues as cheese is very high in proteins which bacteria love to feed on, making bad breath worse than ever,” said Katz.
“Other festive foods to avoid include onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts. They all have a high concentration of sulphur compounds similar to the chemicals produced by the bad breath bacteria.”
Coffee contains high levels of acids which cause the bacteria to grow more quickly, which creates a bitter taste in the mouth, and subsequently leads to bad breath.
Alcohol causes dehydration, which starts drying out the mouth and, again, causes winter breath.
Over 400 painkiller and decongestant medicines can lead to dry mouth. With more cold and flu appearing during the winter months, more people suffer from winter breath, Katz said.
Preventing dry mouth was key to eliminating the threat of bad breath this winter, Katz said.
“Saliva is nature’s gift to us,” he said. “It contains natural antimicrobials that protect us against many of these bacteria.
“They thrive and multiply in the warm dry recesses of the mouth. Once they have reproduced to such large numbers, even brushing and flossing may not be enough to completely eradicate them.”
Keeping your mouth as moist as possible will help to relieve bad breath, Dr Katz said.
Drink between six and eight cups of water a day to help replenish saliva.
Using mouthwash and chewing gum from The Breath Company could help to reduce the symptoms of bad breath, Dr Katz said.
See your dentist, hygienist or dental therapist if you still suffer from bad breath after making the lifestyle changes, the NHS recommends.