Bad breath (or halitosis) can affect as many as one in every four people on a regular basis. There are a number of culprits that can cause bad breath such as prescribed medication, smoking, alcohol or it could be a real medical issue.
Bad breath is caused by unfriendly bacteria in the mouth, however, some people have a higher level of it than others making them more prone to halitosis. These organisms are not viruses or hostile germs, nor are they infectious, but they do produce nasty smelling sulphur which is the root cause of breath odour.
Below are some sure fire ways for keeping your breath smelling sweet all the time, put together by bad breath guru and founder of The Breath Co, Dr Harold Katz.
Brushing helps eradicate the plaque and bacteria on your teeth, however some toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a soapy detergent that creates foam but has no cleaning benefit. The additive has recently been linked to serious side effects including canker sores.
Flossing is an extra step, but it’s an important one, as it helps gets in between the teeth where toothbrushes sometimes miss.
Smoking quickly dries out the mouth and introduces nicotine and tar, which contributes to making an even more complex unpleasant odour. If you are a smoker, then bad breath is going to be a certainty.
If you are a smoker, using The Breath Co Fresh Breath Toothpaste and Oral rinse works well to keep you smelling like a non-smoker until you decide to quit. This mouthwash fights the bad bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath, rather than just masking the smell.
Using a mouthwash is a good way to help with tooth decay and gum disease. However, it is recommended not to use a mouthwash straight after brushing, but instead choose a different time to do it.
Strong mouthwashes that contain alcohol are not good for you. In fact, research published in The Australian Dental Journal has recently shown a potential link between alcohol-based mouthwash and oral cancer.
There is as much alcohol in a capful of typical mouthwash as there is in a shot of vodka which will irritate the inside of your mouth. It is possible to fail a breathalyzer test after rinsing with a strong alcohol based mouthwash. Plus alcohol will dry your mouth, which is one of the causes of bad breath!
Tip top tongues
Those with deep grooves or fissures tend to have bad breath as fissures provide an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.
A tongue scraper is NOT recommended for those that have hairy tongues (a condition referring to tongue fibres that are slightly longer than the norm), scraping them can lead to irritation and injury for people with this condition.
Tongue scraping by itself is not particularly effective. It is kind of like using a toothbrush without a toothpaste. Excessive or overly aggressive scraping can also result in injury!
For a clean tongue use a tongue scraper or toothbrush and gently apply some toothpaste to the tongue’s surface. This will help remove waste and odour from the bacteria that live deep in the tongue’s papillae or fibers while soothing tongue irritation.
Water, water everywhere
We have all been told that water is good for us, but did you know that it can help combat bad breath too? A glass of water can be a quick fix for a dry mouth. While not as good as your saliva, water is still a great way to keep oral tissues moist.
If you have to speak a lot, then it is advised to keep a glass of water close by, and take regular sips so that your mouth does not dry out.
You are what you eat
Or rather your breath is!
When food sits in the wrong environment for too long, it starts to spoil. This same process happens to the small pieces left in the mouth after you eat, only much more quickly.
Bacteria love proteins and most foods are packed with the proteins that bad-breath-related bacteria will rapidly convert to a smelly waste. That is why bad breath can occur no matter what you eat.
There are obviously some foods that have a tendency to cause bad breath more than others. Avoid foods like onions, garlic and the nations favourite…curry, if you are worried about your breath. Acidic foods and beverages like tomatoes, pineapple, citrus and coffee contain high levels of acids which cause bacteria to reproduce more rapidly.
If you are a fan of breath mints, ensure firstly that it is sugar free, as sugars feed the bad bacteria in the mouth, and avoid mints that use artificial sweeteners such a saccharin and aspartame as these can be problematic to your health in the long run for a variety of reasons. Also, hard lozenges that you can suck on will stimulate the production of saliva, this will help freshen your breath and fight germs!
Sweets and chocolate are a no, no. Sugars are efficient fuel for all types of bacteria ranging from bad-breath-related bacteria to the germs that are responsible for plaque, gum disease and tooth staining. Sugars also encourage tooth decay which feeds bacteria further and exacerbates bad breath.
Instead look for the sweetener xylitol which can be found in some chewing gums, has been shown to have anti-cavity properties, it is a non-sucrose sweetener and tastes great.
Natural antimicrobials work great to keep your mouth fresh and germs in check. Look for ingredients like liquorice root extract and clove. However, chewing on parsley after eating strong smelling foods is actually an old wives tale. Instead, why not keep a couple of individually wrapped The Breath Co Mouth Wetting Dry Mouth Lozenges in your handbag and pop one in your mouth after a meal. These unique sugar free lozenges in mandarin mint, restores fresh breath instantly and helps restore natural salvia.
For more information see: www.boots.com
About Dr Harold Katz
Dr. Harold Katz is a dentist with an advanced degree in bacteriology and a lifelong advocate of good oral health .Dr. Harold Katz is the founder of The California Breath Clinics and the developer of the The Breath Company line of premium oral care products. He is the internationally recognised expert in the fields of bad breath, taste disorders, tonsil stones and dry mouth. Known as the ‘Bad Breath Guru’ due to his numerous television appearances on U.S shows like The View and the CBS Early Show, he has helped millions of people around the world eliminate their bad breath problems.
Dr. Katz is a graduate of the UCLA School of Dentistry and holder of a separate degree in Bacteriology, also from UCLA. In the 1970s he established a thriving dental practice in Beverly Hills, California, minutes from bustling 20th Century Fox Studios. There, he perfected his dental techniques while working with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.