Bad Breath Treatment
Surprisingly, many of the measures we use to treat bad breath are actually quite ineffective. Many mouthwashes, breath mints, and other over-the-counter products donít treat bad breath at all. Most of them only temporarily hide bad breath problems. In fact, the ADA (American Dental Association) advises against using any mouthwash that contains over 25% alcohol, since alcohol eventually damages oral tissue that leads to gingivitis or periodontal disease, a leading cause of bad breath. Moreover, in a recent report, the ADA indicated that mouthwashes with strong alcohol content increase the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer by 50%.
Of course, the most effective treatment for halitosis is to remove the cause of bad breath. Since the most frequent cause of bad breath is food particles that remain in your mouth and decay, the least expensive and easiest way to begin bad breath treatment is right at home.
Good Dental Hygiene is the First Step in Bad Breath Treatment
If bad breath continues even if you practice good oral hygiene, your dentist may be able to determine if you have another health problem that causes your bad breath. Make a dental appointment and keep a log of the foods you eat and a list of both over-the-counter and prescription medications. Tell your dentist about any recent illnesses or surgeries that youíve experienced as well as any unusual bad breath symptoms youíve noticed.
- Buy a new soft-bristled toothbrush. Dentists recommend that you should change toothbrushes at least four times a year. However, bristles that are too hard can damage oral tissues that can lead to gingivitis and other mouth problems in addition to bad breath.
- Brushing your teeth helps dislodge larger food bits that lodge between teeth. Brush after eating or at least twice a day.
- Brush your tongue. Our tongues contain tiny ridges where bacteria hide and cause bad breath. Experts recommend that you use a soft bristled brush (another reason to buy a soft-bristled toothbrush) and brush from five to fifteen strokes.
- If you scrape your teeth on your tongue after brushing and still feel a film, consider debriding your tongue using a tongue scraper. A flexible, rake-like structure helps a tongue scraper go between the ridges in your tongue and remove film and food particles a brush may miss.
- Floss at least once a day. Flossing helps remove smaller, stubborn food particles that lodge between teeth. Additionally, flossing removes plague before it gets a chance to harden. Plaque is a good hideout for food bacteria.
- Thoroughly clean retainers, dentures, and bridges at least once a day.
- Drink plenty of water. Dry mouth is a frequent cause of bad breath. Juices, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages arenít good substitutes for water. Water not only clears your palate and refreshes your mouth; it doesnít contain sugar, alcohol, pulp or other additives that can lead to bad breath.
Regular Dental Visits Help Treat Bad Breath
Schedule regular dental visits at least every six months for professional tooth cleaning and check-ups. Professional cleanings remove hardened plaque that makes brushing and flossing more difficult. A dental check-up helps you make sure that you donít have cavities, abscesses or gum conditions that may be causes of bad breath.
When purchasing dental products, always purchase products that are marked with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or those that your dentist recommends to be sure that they are safe for you mouth as well as effective in helping you treat bad breath.
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