Dr Ben Dunster
General Dentist

How do I treat bad breath?

Treating bad breath can be a 3-stage process. It may require different home care regimes, seeing a dentist or gum specialist for intensive cleaning and maintenance, and possibly seeing a General Doctor to treat underlying medical conditions.

Lifestyle changes and home care:

  • Brushing your teeth after you have eaten is one of the most important ways to help prevent bad breath. This removes plaque, bacteria and toxins that can emit odours.
  • Flossing your teeth at least once per day will remove the plaque that gets stuck between the teeth, where the tooth brush bristles can reach.
  • Cleaning dentures, dental appliances, splints will also help reduce the plaque and bacteria that are retained in the mouth
  • Cleaning the tongue with a tongue scraper or brush will help remove the plaque and bacteria from the tongue, reducing the smells
  • Changing your tooth brush regularly is important.
  • Using antibacterial mouth wash / toothpastes will help reduce plaque build up
  • Changing your diet will help eliminate the smells created by food. e.g. onions / garlic
  • Drinking appropriate amounts of water per day to reduce dehydration, will help with dry mouth, and the smells that come with it.


Regular Dental Check ups:

During your examination, the dentist will be looking at your oral health.

We are assessing the areas of plaque and calculus build up, how much there is and what is it doing to the gum and tooth tissues.

Plaque and bacteria can cause dental decay, and gum disease. This needs to be treated to maintain a healthy mouth.

A sign of gum disease is bleeding, swollen and sore gums. Sometimes there is even pus coming up from around the teeth. This all produces bad breath.

Tooth decay / poor fillings / poor fitting dentures need to be replaced or repaired as they can harbour plaque and bacteria that produce bad breath.


Once everything has been assessed, the dentist with give you treatment options that are specific to your dental needs.

Often only a clean and oral hygiene instruction is required to get you back on track.

In some cases, a referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) is required. Generally, this is because the gum disease has caused bone loss, causing the teeth to get loose. Or there are hard to get areas, where specialists have the correct instruments, techniques and surgeries that further help the patient.

Once gum disease is under control, and the oral health has improved, then the bad breath will be under control.


Sometimes the dentist may refer you to your General Doctor to assess your medial health / conditions.

Underlying diabetes, kidney and liver conditions can cause bad breath.

The dentist will give you advise on what to do if they think this is the case.