How to Banish Bad Breath for Good
The Malodorous Mouth
There's nothing good about bad breath. It down right stinks. And, it's far too common. With more than 90 million people suffering from chronic bad breath (also called halitosis), that's a lot of polluted air!
Having fresh breath is hugely important to one's confidence to smile and interact with others. By maintaining a proper oral-health routine and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you'll be able to maintain a healthy mouth and fresh breath. Whether it’s more of a common occurrence or the lingering effects of your last meal, bad breath affects us all at some point. So, if you (or your significant smoocher) has an attack of malodorous mouth, that even Altoids won't mask, here are some thoughts from The American Dental Association:
- You Breathe What You Eat Your diet affects your breath, so avoid obvious foods like onions and garlic, which contain sulfur compounds that give them — and your breath — a strong odor. Cheese, orange juice, and soda (including diet soda) can also cause bad breath. Also, avoid foods such as garlic and onions, which contribute to bad breath. These foods are absorbed into the bloodstream and transferred to the lungs, where they are expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Odors continue until the body eliminates the food.
- Oral Hygiene Brush and floss daily so particles of food don’t remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, causing bad breath. Brush your tongue, too. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Brush after eating and before going to bed, and floss once a day to remove food particles that can decompose and attract bacteria. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Try Crest Plus Scope toothpastes, which combine toothpaste and mouthwash in one product.
- Hydrate Even if you don't eat for hours, at least drink water to help wash away food particles and bacteria. In fact, people get "morning breath" because there's less saliva in their mouths to wash away bacteria during the night. Bad breath can be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.
- Dental Checkups Getting regular dental checkups and professional cleanings will help prevent tooth decay and gum infection — two conditions that can cause bad odors in your mouth. Maintaining good oral health and schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take for your dentist to review.
- Stop Smoking If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products causes stench-breath, stains teeth, reduces your ability to taste foods, and irritates the gums.
Do Any Products Eliminate Bad Breath?
Lots of products make the claim, and many mouthwashes, gums, and mints do a decent job of masking the issue. Some swear by MintAssure, an all-natural breath pill that contains parsley seed oil and natural peppermint flavoring. However, remember that these typically offer only a temporary way to mask a malodorous mouth. Look for antiseptic mouth-rinse products go beyond simply masking breath odor and actually kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about which product is best for you.
The Yogurt Solution
Interestingly, a recent study suggests that a daily dose of yogurt may keep your breath fresh and fend off offensive odors. Researchers found that eating 6 ounces of yogurt a day reduced levels of odor-causing compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, in the mouth. They say the results suggest that the active bacteria in yogurt, specifically Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, may have a beneficial effect on odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Dr. Ronald E. Goldstein, fellow of the American and International College of Dentists, says, "Always try to rule out the simplist of causes...make sure your dentist takes a good full mouth X-ray series to help determine if you have periodontal disease and the X-rays can reveal hidden bone loss. But then you also need a measurement of the distance between the top of your gum tissue and where the bone starts around each tooth. This is called a periodontal probing is done usually by the hygienist. When the dentist combines these 2 diagnostic aids he or she can determine if bone loss or advanced periodontal problems could be the cause or contributing to your bad breath. There are also breath analyizer machines that can measure the severity of your condition. X-rays will also help determine if hidden decay could be playing a role. And finally, don't forget stress can also play an important part in unpleasant breath!"
K. Don Bigelow, D.D.S., is a highly trained cosmetic dentist located in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializing in cosmetic dentistry procedures such as dental implants, teeth whitening / tooth whitening, dental bonding, veneers / porcelain veneers, Lumineers, smile makeovers, and overall dental health.
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