Don’t let bad breath rule the roost


  Posted by: Dental Design      20th June 2023

Bad breath is hard to ignore and very easily caused. It’s unpleasant (rated the third worst smell in Britain)[i] and can be highly embarrassing and uncomfortable for the sufferer. There are many causes of bad breath, of which most are due to everyday habits. The positive here is that a simple tweak to a patient’s oral hygiene routine can help them combat oral malodour.

The bad habits  

Bad breath can have a profound impact on a person’s personal and professional life. A survey explored the impact of bad breath on an individual, finding that sufferers experienced ‘psychological discomfort’.[ii] Another report claimed it could have a ‘socially crippling’ effect on a person’s life.[iii] As a dental professional, you’ll have encountered many patients who express frustration at having bad breath.

However, common lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption and smoking are key players in the development of bad breath. Both habits, but especially when combined, produce a very distinct odour – they also create the ideal oral environment for malodorous bacteria to thrive. But, you’re in a keen position to provide easy-to-implement tips and tricks to help patients keep malodour at bay.

Delving deeper

Alcohol consumption, especially excessive consumption, is something the UK is all too guilty of. In fact, according to GOV.UK, 21% of adults in England and 24% of adults in Scotland ‘regularly drink at levels that increase their risk of ill health’.[iv] Research suggests that heavy drinkers have ‘a unique type of breath that might result from oxidation of alcohol in the mouth and liver, producing acetaldehyde and other odorous by-products’.[v] Alcohol consumption can also cause dry mouth,[vi] which as you know creates the ideal environment for malodorous bacteria to thrive in the mouth.[vii] After drunken nights out, most patients would be reluctant to admit that they forego brushing their teeth before bed – thus allowing the alcohol to coat the teeth and likely worsening the patient’s bad breath the following morning.

Smoking has long been associated with adverse effects on oral health, including bad breath. In fact, researchers have claimed that smoking is the ‘second greatest offender in the development of halitosis’.viii And with 6.6 million smokers in the UK,[viii] it’s an unsurprising fact that many people experience oral malodour as a result. Cigarettes and other tobacco products have a very distinct smell that can linger on the breath, but they can cause numerous other complications within the mouth that also contribute to this issue. Those who smoke may experience hyposalivation,[ix] which not only encourages malodour due to the lack of saliva, but also increases the risk of periodontal diseases.[x]

To combat alcohol- or smoking-induced bad breath, it’s important that patients know how to protect their oral health, especially straight after drinking or having smoked a cigarette. For example, you could suggest that patients prioritise staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water to hydrate the mouth. This is to stave off dryness that usually accompanies alcohol consumption and smoking. Similarly, chewing sugar-free gum will not only help with saliva production, but also provides a temporary, pleasant freshness.

Ultimately, cutting down on alcohol and smoking, or giving them up entirely, is the best way to protect oral health and limit their impact on other areas of the mind and body. Doing so is far from easy, as they are notoriously difficult habits to ditch. In the meantime, help patients by providing tips on how they can limit their bad breath.

A straightforward fix?

For bad breath that results from habit or lifestyle, masking malodour is fairly straightforward, but getting to the root of the issue requires a little more effort. Alongside the implementation of oral hygiene tips such as drinking water and sugar-free chewing gum, patients must understand the importance of maintaining their oral health at home. Alongside twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and interdental cleaning, patients can use a mouth rinse to keep their mouth and breath fresh throughout the day. The Breath Co oral rinses are dentist formulated, and are a great addition to your patients’ oral hygiene routines. For patients experiencing bad breath, The Breath Co oral rinses start working instantly to freshen breath – solutions are clinically shown to fight bad breath for 24 hours when used every 12 hours after brushing and flossing. Plus, there’s no harsh afterburn as the formula is alcohol-free!

Bad breath is common but it shouldn’t have to put a damper on your patients’ confidence. By cutting out certain habits that can encourage malodourous bacteria to thrive and maintaining good oral hygiene habits at home, patients can enjoy a fresh and clean mouth, every day.

For more information about The Breath Co, please visit  


[i] Halitosis is third worst smell in Britain. (2013). British Dental Journal, [online] 215(1), pp.7–7. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[ii] Lu, H-X., Chen, X-L., Wong, M., Zhu, C. and Ye, W. (2016). Oral health impact of halitosis in Chinese adults. International Journal of Dental Hygiene, [online] 15(4), pp.e85–e92. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[iii] Alazmi, S. (2021). Prevalence and Psychosocial Impact of Halitosis: A Cross-sectional Study. International Journal of Dental Sciences and Research, 9(1), pp.11–14. doi:

[iv] GOV.UK (2021). Chapter 12: Alcohol. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[v] Wu, J., Cannon, R., Ji, P., Farella, M. and Mei, L. (2019). Halitosis: prevalence, risk factors, sources, measurement and treatment – a review of the literature. Australian Dental Journal, [online] 65(1), pp.4–11. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[vi] Priyanka, K. (2017). Impact of Alcohol Dependency on Oral Health – A Cross-sectional Comparative Study. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC RESEARCH, [online] 11(6). Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[vii] Yamunadevi, A., Selvamani, M., Mohan Kumar, K., Basandi, P. and Madhushankari, G. (2015). Halitosis – An overview: Part-I – Classification, etiology, and pathophysiology of halitosis. Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, [online] 7(6), p.339. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[viii] (n.d.). Adult smoking habits in the UK – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[ix] Kauss, A.R., Antunes, M., Zanetti, F., Hankins, M., Hoeng, J., Heremans, A. and van der Plas, A. (2022). Influence of tobacco smoking on the development of halitosis. Toxicology Reports, [online] 9, pp.316–322. Available at: [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].

[x] Samnieng, P. (2015). Association of Hyposalivation with Oral Function, Nutrition, and Oral Health in Visual Impaired Patient. International Journal of Clinical Preventive Dentistry, 11(1), pp.15–20. doi:

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