|First of all, thorough brushing to remove
food particles is a daily necessity. Regular check-ups to correct problem
areas: gum disease, carious teeth, faulty restorations, overhanging fillings,
leaking crowns, all of which cause food traps, is a must. For those over
thirty, the odor of periodontal disease is a particularly common cause
of halitosis and one which is easily treated.
Having made certain that your physical oral
condition is as pristine as possible by brushing and flossing and proper
diet and all the other good things, your method of attack is as follows.
The good news is that this scourge of humanity
is not as much of a problem as its victims fear. Researches in the field
find that at any one time only about one percent of the population has
it, so many more people worry about bad breath than are actually afflicted.
As a practicing dentist, Iím regularly asked about this phenomenon, and
while gentle questioning of my patients indicates that almost everyone
worries about bad breath, I find that Iím unable to detect it in most patients
on examination. The conclusion, reinforced by many years of practical experience,
is that bad breath isnít all that common. If however you have the risk
factors given above, and if bad breath strikes you, the incidence is one
hundred percent and the malady is real.
Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges
to increase saliva flow. Saliva is the mouthís natural mouthwash; it has
antibiotic elements in it which reduce the numbers of bacteria in the mouth.
Sugarless gum or candy is an absolute must. Iíve seen horrible cases of
decay and gum disease arise from the habit of frequently eating sugar containing
foods. Some people learn how to milk the salivary glands by sucking on
the cheeks or tongue.
When saliva production diminishes, keep the
mouth wet with a liberal intake of water. Experts advise drinking eight
glasses of water a day for basic metabolic function, and it seems that
keeping the mouth moist is a good way of keeping the bacterial flora of
the mouth under control. Hold the water in the mouth as long as possible-minimum
of twenty seconds, and swish it around to loosen food particles and other
bits of debris that bacteria feed upon. The longer the water remains in
the mouth the better.
Snack on carrots, celery, or other vegetables
to keep plaque from forming.
Vitamin C deficiency may be a cofactor-factor
on bad breath. Smokers, especially should take regular supplements of vitamin
C since the nicotine in the cigarettes destroys vitamin C. A better tactic
is to stop smoking all together, but if youíre still puffing after hearing
all the evidence, the fact that your own halitosis is polluting the air
probably isnít going to change you much.
What works in the refrigerator may work in
the mouth. Consider brushing your teeth and tongue with baking soda. This
is admittedly kind of gross. Any of several brands of toothpaste containing
baking soda can be used instead and are more palatable.
A handy portable, battery powered version of
the water Pik is available. It can be easily transported in a purse or
brief case and is one of the most powerful and certain ways of preventing
bad breath; it really knocks the food particles out from between the teeth.
Consider any of the over-the-counter mouthwashes
which do the same thing as rinsing the mouth with water, but also add a
bit of odor neutralizing substances such as cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC),
zinc chloride (more about zinc in a bit.), or chlorhexidine. Look for products
containing these compounds. Buying the mouthwash also makes the buyers
a little wealthier, stimulates the economy, and maybe provides a sense
of security. There is a prescription mouthwash called Peridex which seems
to be a little more effective than the over-the- counter brands although
its taste leaves something to be desired.
Before the big date, the business presentation,
or the stress encounter consider rinsing the mouth with a 50/50 solution
of hydrogen peroxide and water. A teaspoon of each is swished in the mouth
for one full minute. Hydrogen peroxide releases free oxygen which is poisonous
to many of the bacteria that cause bad breath. If things are really going
to be tense, Maybe a tranquilizer or two might help also. (See your health
care provider for advice on this)
Zinc and compounds of this metal have complex
effects on the plaque forming process, and one researcher has suggested
that zinc salts combined with ionone, an ingredient of tomato juice, appear
to produce a much longer anti-plaque and anti-odor effect than either alone.
Maybe those who favor bloody Maryís, virgin or real, in the morning, have
hit upon the definitive cure for the jungle mouth.
In those cases where hunger odor is present,
the way of correcting the problem is simple: just have a bit to eat.
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A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
Birdcreek Terrace Temple, TX 76502 254.773.9007 | Fax 254.773.8051
A. Greene, DDS-FAGD | Online since 1996 | Updated Continuously