Alright, so you've finally arranged a date with your Tinder match this Valentine's Day.
All the finer details have been settled, from a meal at the latest hipster cafe to tickets for whatever's showing at Esplanade nowadays.
Everything's looking perfect - that is, until you realise that for some time now, you've noticed your friends are inching further and further away each time you try to have a conversation.
We get that you'd like to make an impression on your date, but how do you ensure that he or she isn't “blown away" by your breath instead?
Well, bad breath or halitosis can cause serious social problems. And if you think you might have this problem, this article is for you, especially with Valentine's Day just around the corner.
1. Can gum disease cause bad breath?
Yes, for sure it can! Bad breath or halitosis can be caused by poor brushing; which allows food and bacteria to accumulate around the gum margins and tongue. The bacteria then breaks the food down to emit a foul odour.
When gum disease is more serious and periodontitis develops, pockets around the gums form and more food and bacteria gets trapped under the gums (yucks!)
This leads to a vicious cycle of more food and bacteria accumulating, increased gum breakdown and even worse bad breath!
At this point, no amount of mouthwash or mints are going to help you. The mouthwash is not able to get to the depths of those gum pockets to kill the bacteria.
In serious periodontitis cases, pus can also form in the gums. And trust me. Pus smells bad.
However, there are other possible cause of bad breath too. Such as:
- Food like onions and garlic
- Not drinking enough water causing dehydration and decrease in saliva production
- Sinus and lung infections
- Other systemic diseases like diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders
2. So how do I cure bad breath?
First, start with the basics like:
- Stop smoking
- Cutting down on odour emitting foods like onions and garlic on days you really want to smell your best!
- Brushing the top of your tongue or using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria
- Brushing and flossing twice a day
- Drinking lots of water
- Getting a checkup with your dentist or a periodontist
Your dentist/periodontist will be able to tell if you are brushing or flossing well enough, and he or she will give you a check up to see if that stinky smell is emanating from deep within the recesses of your gums!
If this still doesn’t clear the problem, your dentist/periodontist will probably refer you for a checkup with a medical doctor, to eliminate any other illnesses that can cause bad breath.
So if you want to leave the right impression on your date this Valentine's day, definitely start with these basic techniques!
Dr Marlene Teo is a Periodontist (gum specialist) at TP Dental. She holds a joint appointment as Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore. Dr Teo passionately believes in leading a holistic and healthy lifestyle to boost immunity and combat periodontal disease.