Do you suffer from chronic bad breath? Is your spouse or loved one always complaining about your ‘dragon breath’?
Don’t Let Bad Breath Interfere With Your Life!
If you are looking for simple bad breath remedies, our Westbrook area dentist Dr. Ted Morgan can help. Recent studies have shown up to 90% of all cases of halitosis, more commonly referred to as bad breath, can be attributed to odor-causing mouth bacteria that can’t be removed by brushing, flossing, or gargling alone. In more severe cases you may need to visit your Portland, ME Dentist.
The American Dental Association News recently reported that halitosis experts agree that the dominant cause of bad breath is the bacteria on the tongue. Another common cause is active gum disease which creates pockets in the gums that can harbor these same bacteria.
The bacteria release odorous by-products (known as Volatile Sulfur Compounds, or VSCs – similar to the gasses released by a rotten egg) as they thrive on the tongue. In fact, according to recent research, VSCs may even be a factor in initiating gum disease.
Just as plaque is a bacterial coating on the teeth, odor-causing bacteria can coat the tongue. Brushing alone does not solve the problem.
The typical home 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.
The bacteria that cause 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 with bad breath, and that type of bad breath is temporary.
Self Test for Halitosis
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 Westbrook 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. You may also have gum disease. Whichever the cause, 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), chewing 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. Some of these very products actually make the problem worse by providing nutrients that feed the very bacteria you need to get rid of the solve the problem of bad breath.
The key to curing your bad breath problem is to remove the coating on the tongue.
There is a mouthwash ingredient that works in conjunction with tongue cleaning for optimum hygiene. Ask your dentist in the Westbrook area for a mouthwash containing chlorine dioxide. Use it after you clean your tongue.
Many people ask if brushing the tongue with a toothbrush is enough to remove the coating. Although brushing the tongue is a good 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.
We recommend that you brush your teeth and then clean your tongue.
To do this effectively, you will need a tongue cleaner, which should be available in your local pharmacy.
In addition to freshening breath, tongue cleaning reduces the risk of decay and gum disease and improves the sense of taste.
If you’re suffering from halitosis and would like to consult a dentist in the Westbrook area about how you can eliminate this problem, contact our office at (207) 839-2655 to schedule a consultation.