Do you suffer from chronic bad breath? Is your spouse or loved always complaining about your ‘dragon breath’?
Don’t Let Bad Breath Interfere With Your Life!
Recent studies have shown up to 90% of all cases of halitosis, more commonly referred to as bad breath, can be attributed to harmful mouth bacteria that are not removed by brushing, flossing, or gargling alone.Also, the American Dental Association News recently reported that halitosis experts agree that the dominant cause of bad breath is the bacteria on the tongue.
The bacteria release odorous byproducts (known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds, or VSCs – similar to the gasses released by a rotten egg) as they thrive on the tongue. These stinkers also arise from active gum disease. In fact, according to recent research, VSCs may even be the first factor in initiating gum disease.
As plaque is to the teeth and gums, coating is to the tongue. Brushing alone does not solve the problem.
Our normal hygiene routine doesn’t work against the bacteria on the tongue because we simply are not properly cleaning our tongues.
Primary Cause of Halitosis
The tongue is a rough surface that provides the bacteria with plenty of hiding places. When we eat, debris left over from food and normal mucus production build the coating on our tongues. This coating provides the bacteria with a safe hiding place.
Why is it safe? Because the bacteria are anaerobic – oxygen is lethal to them. So the bacteria, hidden in the safety of the tongue’s coating, do their dirty work releasing odorous gasses in the process, which is the primary cause of halitosis.
Halitosis can also lead to increased risk of tooth decay (especially root surface decay), and a decreased sense of taste.
Beware of Advertising Claims About Bad Breath!
Some companies would have you believe that bad breath is caused by a sour stomach, but this is true only in about 1 of 10 people, and that type of bad breath is temporary.
Self Test for Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Cup your hand over your nose and mouth and exhale. Do you smell anything?
If you do, you have probably eaten something today that is causing the odor. As mentioned above, this type of halitosis is usually temporary (lasting from a few hours to a few days).
If you do not smell an odor, there are two possibilities:
- You do not have bad breath
- You have bad breath, but your nose has desensitized itself (just as one gets used to an odor in a room after being in it for some time).
Self-testing simply is not reliable.
Still dying to know if your breath is offensive? The nose (not yours!) knows. Ask a close (honest) friend, or your dentist or hygienist. You can also watch for these clues. Do people tend to…
- Stand far away from you in conversation?
- Turn their heads away when you are speaking?
- Kiss you on the cheek (instead of the lips)?
If you experience any of these uncomfortable (and embarrassing) symptoms, it’s very possible that you have halitosis (bad breath). It could also be gum disease, or at least the early stages of it. If this is the case, early intervention is vital as it will help avoid the loss of teeth and allow you to get close and personal without being offensive.
A recent study showed that mouthwashes (even antibacterial brands), gums, and breath mints merely mask the problem. They only work for a short time (an hour at most) because the bacteria are still alive and well. Even if you are using an antibacterial mouth-wash, the bacteria are comfortable lurking in the safety under the coating of the tongue.
All of the mouthwashes currently available over the counter add to the compost pile on the tongue, instead of reducing it, thereby making the problem worse!
The key to curing your bad breath problem is to remove the coating on the tongue.
There is one type of mouthwash that works in conjunction with tongue cleaning for optimum hygiene. Ask your dentist for a mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide. Use it after you clean your tongue.
Many people ask me if brushing the tongue with a toothbrush is enough to remove the coating. Although brushing the tongue is a step in the right direction, it merely loosens the coating. It does not remove it. Removing the coating is crucial to killing the bacteria that cause bad breath.
I recommend that my patients brush their teeth and then clean their tongue.
Today, tongue cleaners may still be hard to find, however, I expect them to be as common as the toothbrush or dental floss in the next decade. In addition to freshening breath, tongue cleaning reduces the risk of decay and improves the sense of taste.
When purchasing a tongue cleaner, look for the following:
- Ease of Use
If you’re suffering from halitosis and would like to consult about how you can eliminate this problem, contact our office at (513) 896-1573 to schedule a consultation.