Prescribed Help for Bad Breath


Bad breath is bad news for everyone—you and those around you. It may not be contagious but it creates social discomfort and keeps you from any form of intimacy. If you think you have bad breath or halitosis (a technical term for chronic bad breath), you are certainly not alone—6 out of 10 people have the problem at one time or another. While you can mask temporary bad breath with your supply of breath mints stashed in your pockets or bags, halitosis needs more than breath refreshers. The underlying reason needs to be uncovered, so effective treatment can be used to get rid of halitosis for good.

What causes halitosis? A number of reasons present themselves. Food choices can determine the kind of breath—we are all similar with garlic breath or breath that reeks from too much fermented cheese. Food particles stuck in between teeth can turn sour and generate a whiff of the not-so-fresh breath. Dentists can point to a host of more serious problems: poor oral hygiene, dry mouth syndrome, ill-fitting dentures, periodontal disease or mucus in the throat or sinuses. These conditions promote bacteria growth in the mouth. These mouth-inhabiting bacteria produce foul smelling sulfur gases (in particular hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan) that can be off-putting. These unwelcomed mouth guests are hard core and can survive, even when there is no oxygen. They are also smart, hiding in ridges and valleys of your tongue and at the back of your throat, where it is difficult to reach.

So, what can be done for halitosis? Thankfully, there are many prescribed ways to tackle this problem:

Oral Hygiene

Dentists agree that oral hygiene is your first line of defense.  With a little diligence, you can practice oral hygiene and give those bacteria a hard time flourishing in your mouth.  Brush your teeth (like your mother told you) at least twice a day and floss to get rid of food particles between teeth.  You can also use an interdental device like gum picks.  Visit your hygienist faithfully, twice a year, so they can remove any tartar (hardened plaque) from your gum line and keep your mouth in tip-top condition.

Tongue Scraper

The tongue is the biggest organ in the mouth and a great hiding place for bacteria. It is often overlooked as the source of halitosis but halitosis experts will tell you that the tongue is one of the main causes of halitosis. Bacteria hide in the ridges and valleys of tongue, on the undersides and way in the back.  You can use a gentle toothbrush to slouch away build-up but most dental professionals recommend a tongue cleaner to do the job.  Don’t know which tongue cleaner works? Try concave-shaped OralSweet Tongue Cleaner—it has a scarping edge to clean the whole tongue and it can reach in the back of your mouth too.

Dry Mouth

Your mouth can become parched for a number of reasons—dehydration, certain medication, radiation therapy or you have the habit of constantly breathing through your mouth.  Some people suffer from a natural lack of saliva production called dry mouth syndrome.  Dry mouth increases bacteria production, generating bad breath.  If your dry mouth is not a medical condition, you can relieve dry mouth by drinking more water/sugar-free liquids or chewing sugarless gum.  If it’s a medical condition, ask your dentist about Pilocarpine (Salagen TM) or Cevimeline (Evoxac TM). They stimulate the production of saliva.

Some mouthwash can dry out your mouth because of the alcohol content.  Look for mouthwashes and toothpaste containing stabilized chlorine dioxide as it breaks down sulfur-producing substances in your mouth.

Gum Disease

If you have progressive gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, you may notice persistent foul odor coming from your mouth. Periodontal disease eats away at the base of your teeth, creating pockets in your gum line. Pockets make great hiding places for bacteria. Your dentist will probably suggest scaling and rooting. Scaling will remove plaque and tartar (both causes of periodontal disease) from below the gums, inside the pockets. Root planning will remove any remaining tartar clinging onto the rough surfaces and smooths it out to allow the gum to reattach itself to the root surface. The dentist may prescribe antibiotics right after scaling and rooting procedure to prevent infection.

Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

More by this Author

Comments 23 comments

Melody Lagrimas profile image

Melody Lagrimas 7 years ago from Philippines

A very informative hub.

jayb23 profile image

jayb23 7 years ago from India

Amazing hub anglnwu and some really nice info. Bad breath is really a big turn off for lot of people. Thanks for sharing this blog.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

Thanks, Melody and Jay for dropping by and for your kind comments.

Godslittlechild profile image

Godslittlechild 7 years ago

Very well written!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

Thanks, Godslittlechild. See you around.

Charia Samher profile image

Charia Samher 7 years ago

Really love your hubs anglnwu, full of valuable infos!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

Hey, you got yourself a brand new picture--nice. Thanks for visiting. How's our weight challenge coming along?

hollywoodjames profile image

hollywoodjames 7 years ago from USA

I've also heard that Zinc can help to control bad breath. Nice write!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

hollywoodjames, thanks for visiting my hub. You're right, zinc is often found in mouthwashes to get rid of volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

I bought a tongue scraper LOL, it is nasty if you have this problem, nice hub anglnwu, Maita

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 7 years ago Author

No laughing matter, the tongue scraper is really effective. I usually buy mine when I go home to visit Singapore--I find that they are better. Thanks, Maita. Love to see your lovely face...again.

Bad Breath Help 6 years ago

Great hub! Green tea and drinking a lot of water, always making sure that your body is properly hydrated are some of the best tips for long term solution for bad breath I think. Also, i slice up a carrot in the morning and put it in a ziplock bag that i carry around. Then, during the day, I take a small piece out now and then and nibble on it - this helps to increase saliva flow and is yet another means to counter bad breath.

Tongue scrapers are also helpful, but I hate to use them :-o

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Bad Breath help,Thanks for your comments. Appreciate the carrot tip--sounds like a great idea.

profile image

wendy87 6 years ago

really helpful and easy to follow to have fresh breath

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

thanks, wendy 87, for dropping by.

alexs 5 years ago

hope this helps you. I had tonsil stones and awful bad breath. My friend told me to check Oraltech Labs advice as it got rid of his bad breath and his post nasal drip. I've been following Oraltech Labs advice for about 4 months now and I feel much better, also at work people are not avoiding me anymore so it seems to have cured my bad breath as well, so good luck!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Good to hear that alexs. Glad oraltech labs advice works for you.

Trsmd profile image

Trsmd 5 years ago from India

I believe that most of the people don't bother about their bad breath..because they are not the person have provided nice tips..keep it up..

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Lol, Trsmd--you've a point. Sometimes, they are not even aware of the problem.

jojokaya profile image

jojokaya 4 years ago from USA

Very good hub.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, jojokaya, for dropping by to comment.

joyfulmommy profile image

joyfulmommy 4 years ago

Great hub Angln! Voted up. Have a great day!

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Joyfulmommy, thanks for reading and commenting.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article