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Gingivitis and halitosis

Taking care of your mouth helps prevent problems such as dental bleeding, gingivitis (gum disease) and halitosis (bad breath).

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease.

Bleeding gums can be a symptom of gingivitis, which is a disease of the gums. Other symptoms can include tenderness, redness and swelling of the gums.

Gingivitis is usually caused by plaque, which is the result of a build up of bacteria on your teeth. Plaque is usually removed by brushing, but if it builds up it can irritate your gums and may cause bleeding and swelling.

Gingivitis can be caused by a number of things, but it is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. If you have an existing health condition, such as diabetes, you may be more likely to have oral hygiene problems such as gingivitis.

Without treatment gingivitis can get worse and cause serious problems such as abscesses, receding gums and tooth loss.

Halitosis (bad breath)

Halitosis is the medical name for bad breath.

The most common cause of bad breath is tiny food particles trapped in your teeth and mouth. When the natural bacteria in your mouth break down these tiny bits of food, a foul smelling gas is released. This causes bad breath. Good oral hygiene helps prevent bad breath.

Other factors that can cause bad breath include strong-flavoured foods, such as garlic and onion, and smoking.

The best way to get rid of bad breath is to floss regularly, clean your teeth twice a day and drink plenty of water.

Get advice on mouth care.

Please see your dentist if halitosis persists or you are concerned.

Last reviewed: August 2015

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