Do you ever worry that you might have bad breath? Whether preparing for something important like a job interview or a date, or whether you simply had onions for lunch and feel like a fire-breathing dragon as a result, bad breath is at times a concern for everyone.
What are some easy ways to combat this problem?
Step 1: Pay attention to your tongue
The most common source of mouth-related halitosis is the tongue. Tongue bacteria produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids, and account for 80 to 90 per cent of all cases of mouth-related bad breath. Things such as mints, mouth sprays, and mouthwash may only temporarily mask the odors created by the bacteria on the tongue, but they do not and cannot actually cure bad breath because they do not remove its source.
In order to prevent the production of the odorous sulphur-containing compounds the bacteria on the tongue must be removed, as must the decaying food debris present on the tongue’s rear areas. Many toothbrushes now have a tongue scraper on the back of the head for this very purpose, or a specialized tongue scraper may be purchased at a very reasonable cost anywhere that sells toothpaste and brushes.
The goal when using a tongue scraper is simply to gently rub the tongue, not to scrape it hard. Gently run the scraper down the length of the tongue a few times until you have covered the entire surface. This takes very little time and is a worthwhile addition to your dental care routine. Along with brushing and flossing, tongue scraping often results in an immediate improvement to the level of freshness in your mouth.
Step 2: Don’t forget to floss
The importance of flossing cannot be underestimated, since it removes decaying food particles which can be responsible for producing unpleasant odours.
Step 3: Drink more water
Make drinking water a habit, because water will help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum thus helping to prevent bad breath from being a problem.
Step 4: Keep chewing
Saliva is your best weapon against bad breath. That’s why dry mouth, often caused by certain medications or medical conditions, leads to odour problems. By washing away food particles and bacteria, saliva actually helps to eliminate odour. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production and thereby reduces the amount of potentially smelly bacteria. Gum that is sweetened with xylitol is your best option. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that not only increases salvation but also works to prevent bacteria from replicating in the mouth.
Step 5: Consult your dentist
While most bad breath can be banished with simple hygienic steps, there are times when dental or medical conditions might be the culprit. Make sure to see your dentist regularly — at least twice a year. He or she will conduct an oral examination and professional teeth cleaning and will be able detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad breath.
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