Bad breath – the elephant in the room

The Elephant in the room


Worried you might have bad breath? You’re certainly not alone. According to NHS data 25% of the UK population are persistent sufferers. In a study carried out by UltraDEX(1), we found that 70% of adults surveyed worry about bad breath, while 74% said just thought of having bad breath affected their confidence.

Not surprisingly, however, bad breath is the classic elephant in the room. No one likes to talk about it. In fact, our research found only 14% of people would tell a friend or colleague they have bad breath.

How do I know if I have bad breath, and how do I get rid of it?

To check if you have bad breath, there are some simple tests you can do. The easiest is to lick the inside of your wrist, wait a few seconds and then smell it.

Alternatively, you could get some dental floss and clean between your back teeth. Take out the floss; leave for a few seconds and then smell it. Similarly, if you have a tongue scraper, gently scrape the tongue and then smell the scraper.

There are also instances where the taste in your mouth could be an indication. If your mouth has a stale and generally unpleasant taste, the chances are that this is reflected in your breath.

How to get rid of bad breath?

If you believe you are suffering from bad breath (halitosis), the good news is that there is a range of proven steps you can follow to help resolve the problem.

Brush & floss regularly

Anyone suffering from bad breath should pay particular attention to his or her oral hygiene routine. This might sound obvious, but according to research conducted by National Smile Month(2) one in four adults admit that they brush their teeth less than twice a day. Even more worryingly, a similar number don’t use dental floss or interdental brushes regularly, while a third of the population has never used dental floss at all.

No matter how obvious it may sound, if you’re looking for ways to get rid of bad breath, the first step should always be to brush with a good quality toothpaste for between two and three minutes, at least twice a day. Try switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush. Tests have shown that using an electric toothbrush is more effective at removing plaque which, if allowed to build up, can lead to gum disease and also bad breath.

Additionally, interdental brushes, floss or tape should also be used regularly to remove any food particles that your toothbrush bristles cannot reach.

Use an alcohol-free mouth rinse

One of the most common solutions for trying to get rid of bad breath is to use a minty-flavoured mouthwash. However, many popular mouthwash products contain alcohol, which can dry the mouth and exacerbate the problem, while the mint flavour merely masks the odour and doesn’t specifically target the root cause.

A more effective solution is to use a dedicated bad breath mouthwash, alcohol-free so it won’t dry the mouth. UltraDEX Daily Oral Rinse  has an advanced formulation which instantly eliminates the odour-causing Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSCs), rather than simply masking the problem. As a result, you can experience longer-lasting fresh breath and a cleaner, healthier mouth.

Use a tongue scraper

While most of us brush our teeth on a daily basis, a far less common element of the average oral care routine is the use of a tongue scraper. This is surprising, as the impact of a clean tongue on conquering bad breath can be considerable. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology(3) found that regular tongue brushing led to a 45% reduction in the release of Volatile Sulphur Compounds, while tongue scraping led to an impressive 75% reduction. In short, cleaning your tongue can be a very effective strategy in the fight against halitosis.

Drink more water

A dry mouth is a common cause of bad breath, so staying hydrated is a great preventative approach. Keep drinking throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.

Have regular dental check-ups

Problems such as plaque build-up and tooth decay can contribute to halitosis. It’s important to visit the dentist regularly to ensure you have a good oral regime in place and prevent against any future problems.

Fresh breath on-the-go

On a busy day keeping your breath fresh can feel like a challenge. While gum and mints might offer an easy on-the-go solution, they will only mask bad breath for a short period of time. The UltraDEX Fresh Breath Spray delivers instant odour-eliminating relief in a handy spray, ideal for your pocket or handbag.


The UltraDEX range is clinically proven to provide 12 hours of fresh breath.

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(1) UltraDEX / OnePoll survey of 2000 UK adults
(2)National Smile Month Facts and Figures. Available at:
(3)Pedrazzi, V et al. 2004. Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper. Journal of Periodontology 75(7), pp 1009-1012. Available at: