Knowing the best fresh breath tips may not only eliminate bad breath but will also contribute to one’s overall oral health. When people encounter someone with bad breath, their first thought is that this person needs to brush his teeth more often! However, while brushing your teeth at least twice a day is recommended to help prevent teeth and gum disease, it may not correct a case of chronic halitosis.
Bad breath is usually the result of one or more conditions directly enhancing the ability for oral bacteria to proliferate uncontrollably. These are:
Tongue bacteria–sulfurous bacteria tend to congregate on the tongue’s posterior dorsum, the area closest to the back of the throat. This is the driest, least hygienic part of the mouth that most people neglect. Here, anaerobic bacterial flourish because mouth debris such as food particles, postnasal drip mucus and dead skin cells rapidly accumulate under undisturbed conditions.
As bacteria consume debris and excrete waste, they emit powerful odors resembling rotten eggs and other foul smells that are called “volatile sulfur compounds”. Unless the tongue is properly cleaned each day by brushing or with a professional tongue scraper, the anaerobic bacteria will continue thriving and producing bad breath.
Gum disease–when gingivitis affects the gums, it causes the gums to swell and bleed. Sometimes pockets of pus develop around the gumline where the teeth meet the gums. Since anaerobic bacteria also consume blood, pus and the dead skin produced by gingivitis, this provokes bacterial activity and contributes to the amount of volatile sulfur compounds filling the mouth.
Tonsils–putrefaction originating from the tonsils is usually in the form of tonsilloliths, or tonsil stones. These tiny, irregular pieces of white, calcified matter develop in tonsillar crypts and produce an extremely bad smell when bitten or released. Consisting of concentrated chunks of food debris, mucus and bacteria, tonsil stones can be dislodged at home but often reform soon after removal, especially in those who suffer from repeated bouts of tonsillitis.
Non-oral diseases–known as “systemic” diseases, non-oral diseases such as lung and/or bronchial infections, kidney infections, cancers, diabetes and metabolic dysfunctions can also be the source of chronic halitosis, but thankfully are extremely rare.
Xerostomia–also called “dry mouth” or “dry mouth syndrome”, may be the most contributory cause of bad breath because of the anaerobic condition it presents within the oral cavity. When oxygen and saliva minimally exist, bacteria breed wildly and ferociously, unfettered by anything that might reduce their capacity to consume mouth debris and emit volatile sulfurous compounds.
In addition to providing oxygen, antibacterial qualities and moistening properties, a healthy flow of saliva also prevents stagnation from occurring in the mouth. Breathing through the mouth or taking medication that causes drying of the mouth presents bacteria with an optimal environment for uncontrollable reproduction and emission of VSCs.
Fresh Breath Tips–Top 10
1. Cleaning the tongue’s surface–gently scraping the tongue with a tongue cleaner to remove the white, pasty biofilm of bacteria twice a day is one way to begin reducing bad breath. Applying an antibacterial gel or rinse to the surface of the tongue after cleaning will also inhibit further growth of anaerobic bacteria.
An effective method for tongue cleaning is provided by Dr. Katz’s TheraBreath professional tongue scraper that is shaped in a way to easily facilitate removal of bacterial film. Following the tongue scraping procedure, a small amount of TheraBreath toothpaste can then be spread over the back of the tongue where the special ingredients contained in the toothpaste begin killing the bad-breath-causing bacteria.
However, unless the tongue is cleaned entirely of bacteria, the toothpaste will not be able to reach active anaerobes lying underneath the biofilm.
2. Chewing sugarless gum--because bad breath can often be traced to dry mouth syndrome, chewing sugarless gum is a good way to keep the mouth hydrated. Saliva has many uses and one of them is washing away anaerobic bacteria, in addition to promoting self-cleansing properties within the mouth. Gum containing xylitol, calcium peroxide and zinc gluconate is the best kind of chewing gum for halitosis relief. These ingredients are all found in gum produced by TheraBreath products.
3. Bedtime gargling--gargling with an oxidizing mouthwash that does not contain alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent) or saccharin is an excellent way to eliminate bacteria lying in the back of the throat, one of the places where much of anaerobic activity takes place.
4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day--water is the optimal lubricator, especially when it comes to alleviating xerostomia. Remember that a chronically dry mouth is the prime environment for bacterial growth.
5. Keeping your nasal passages free–blowing your nose and making sure you are breathing through your nose rather than your mouth will contribute to fresher breath. Post nasal drip provides bacteria with protein-rich mucus on which to feed, which accumulates in the back of the throat where it usually remains undisturbed unless treated by gargling with a probiotic solution or mouthwash.
6. Avoid toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate–SLS is a foaming agent found in most over the counter toothpastes as well as shampoos, laundry detergents and even carpet cleaner! Research has shown that as little as a 0.5 percent of SLS concentration will produce tissue sloughing and corrosion in the mouth. This excess mouth debris provides more food for bad breath bacteria–and does nothing to enhance the health of your mouth.
7. Stop smoking–cigarette smoke is not only a known carcinogen but it also contributes to dry mouth
8. Brush and floss twice a day–maintaining excellent oral hygiene not only contributes to overall health but also helps eliminate bad breath and dry mouth. When xerostomia is allowed to continue untreated, tooth erosion often occurs because there is not enough saliva to protect tooth enamel. Saliva contains calcium, a substance important to the re-mineralization of teeth. Eating and drinking too much acidic food contributes to the amount of acid in the mouth as well. When dryness and acidity are combined, the result is tooth sensitivity, discolored teeth and even cracks in the teeth. These cracks also provide neat little spaces where anaerobic bacteria can hide and reproduce.
9. Eat more fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables–the act of chewing on raw, healthy foods enhances saliva flow and also pushes food debris out from between teeth and spaces between the gums and teeth.
10. Reduce alcohol consumption–since alcohol is a diuretic and drying agent, consuming excess amounts of beer, wine or whiskey will dehydrate the body and produce xerostomia. In addition, alcohol may promote bacterial growth leading to periodontal disease.
By following these Top 10 Fresh Breath Tips and using products especially designed to promote oral health such as TheraBreath mouthwashes and toothpastes, anyone can experience the clean feeling of having a germ-free mouth and the freshest breath possible.