Do you have a phobia of bad breath? Would you pluck up the courage to tell someone that they had embarrassing mouth odour? A new survey by UltraDEX found that only 4% of us are likely to tell someone if they had unpleasant breath. Nearly 80% of respondents knew poor oral hygiene was a factor but many failed to recognise other common causes of halitosis.

Top Tips to Avoid Bad Breath

Top Tips to Avoid Bad Breath

UltraDEX have teamed up with leading dentists to list the top bad breath watch-outs:

1. On The Go: The intensity of bad breath differs during the day depending on oral dryness due to stress, fasting or eating certain foods or drinks. Modern day lifestyles can be very busy and the survey found that many are lost for what to use as an on-the-go freshness burst.

Top Tip: For fresh breath on-the-go, dentists recommend the UltraDEX Fresh Breath Oral Spray to instantly eliminate bad breath bacteria. The spray fits perfectly in a handbag or pocket and is clinically proved to deliver 12 hours fresh breath and whiter teeth too!

2. Dry Mouth: Saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth healthy. Without enough saliva, the mouth becomes a breeding ground for plaque bacteria. You produce less saliva when you are sleeping and this can lead to pongy morning breath along with mouth breathing overnight. A blocked nose due to a cold or talking a lot, whether for work or pleasure, can also lead to a dry mouth and bad breath.

Top Tip: Dentists advise drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep the mouth hydrated and smelling fresh. Only 11% of survey respondents reported drinking 6 or more glasses of water a day and less than 3% would think of drinking water to freshen breath. It's important to see your dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of dental problems, especially if you have a dry mouth.

3. Foods: Odorous sulphur compounds in garlic and onions linger in your mouth and are expelled when you exhale. However, eating non-smelly foods can stimulate saliva production to help clear bad breath bacteria. However not eating anything can also cause bad breath. Less than 15% of those surveyed realised that skipping a meal causes halitosis. The low carb diet craze, nicknamed "ketobreath", often brings an unexpected side effect, as it increases the production of odour causing volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs).

Top Tip: Dentists' advice is to follow a healthy diet and to simply never skip a meal, especially breakfast, as VSCs build up overnight. Eating fruit can be particularly helpful as it provides you with both vitamins and plenty of water to give you a fresh smile.

4. Drinks: Drinking lots of coffee is a well know bad breath culprit. The caffeine can dry out your mouth by slowing saliva production. Coffee taken with milk can have the additional disadvantage of smelling due to the inclusion of dairy, which can also encourage bacteria growth. Alcohol is also well known to dry out the mouth and 42% of people said bad breath was a hangover concern.

Top Tip: Pair your coffee with an odour-neutralising snack such as apple slices, or a piece of fresh ginger. Lemon is another option; a slice of lemon in your water will offer similar protection. Drinking water also helps keep the teeth brighter as it removes any stains left from the coffee and can also help us ease those hangover pains.

5. Hygiene: Bacteria can easily build up in the cavities and cracks of our mouths and start to produce VSCs if they are not cleaned away properly.

Top Tip: Brush twice a day with anti-bacterial, fluoride toothpaste, floss and rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash and visit your dentist and hygienist regularly. Bacteria can also cling to the back of our tongues and happily sit there producing VSCs, so invest in a good tongue cleaner and use it for a few seconds' morning and night for added bad breath protection.

Leading dentist Mervyn Druian says: "Even though studies have shown that bad breath is the third most frequent reason for seeking dental treatment - following tooth decay and gum disease - bad breath is still a huge social taboo.

"But there are simple tips and tricks which you can follow every day. I tackle my breath fear by having a glass of water between every patient and use the UltraDEX fresh breath spray all the time."