Bad breath treatment
Once bad breath has been diagnosed, the outlook for fresh breath is usually excellent if you stick to your dentist's or physician's treatment plan. If it is determined that your bad breath is not being caused by some medical condition and if your bad breath continues despite a good diet and proper dental hygiene, do not hesitate to reschedule another appointment with your dentist and/or physician as appropriate.
Understand also that chronic halitosis is not very well understood by most physicians and dentists, so effective treatment is not always easy to find. The treatment of bad breath depends on its cause. If your dentist and/or physician have determined that the cause of your bad breath is based upon some non-systemic disease condition the following regime may most likely be recommended to be followed.
The first step to naturally get rid of bad breath is to hydrate your mouth and body! In other words, drink and drink and drink water! Many times the mouth is left dry because of not drinking enough water. Over 80% of the population is walking around dehydrated. Buy a water bottle and make a goal of drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water per day. A good tip is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day! Therefore, a 150 lb. person would drink 75 ounces of water per day (almost 10 cups of water). Eating a healthy breakfast with rough foods helps clean the very back of the tongue. Again, maintain water levels in the body by drinking several glasses of water a day.
Brushing - Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an inter-dental cleaner to clean between teeth. Brushing TIPS:
- Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
Chewing gum - Since dry mouth can increase bacterial build up and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, and thereby help to reduce bad breath. Chewing may help particularly when the mouth is dry, or when one cannot perform oral hygiene procedures after meals (especially those meals rich in protein). This aids in the production of saliva, which washes away oral bacteria, has antibacterial properties and promotes mechanical activity which helps cleanse the mouth. Some chewing gums contain special anti-odor ingredients. Chewing on fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, mastic gum or fresh parsley are common folk remedies.
Cleaning the tongue - Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control; that can be achieved using a tongue cleaner or tongue brush/scraper to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris and mucus. An inverted teaspoon may also do the job; a toothbrush should be avoided, as the bristles only spread the bacteria in the mouth, and grip the tongue, causing a gagging reflex. Scraping or otherwise damaging the tongue should be avoided, and scraping of the V-shaped row of taste buds found at the extreme back of the tongue should also be avoided. Brushing a small amount of antibacterial mouth rinse or tongue gel onto the tongue surface will further inhibit bacterial action.
Denture hygiene - Denture wearers should properly clean and soak their dentures overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist).
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
- Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Gargling - Gargle right before bedtime with an effective mouthwash (see below). Several types of commercial mouthwashes have been shown to reduce malodor for hours in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Mouthwashes may contain active ingredients which are inactivated by the soap present in most tooth pastes. Thus it is recommended to refrain from using mouthwash directly after tooth brushing with paste (also see mouthwashes, below).
Mouthwashes - Mouthwashes often contain antibacterial agents including cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, zinc gluconate, essential oils, and chlorine dioxide. Zinc and chlorhexidine provide strong synergistic effect. They may also contain alcohol, which is a drying agent. Rinses in this category include Scope and Listerine. Other solutions rely on odor eliminators like oxidizers to eliminate existing bad breath on a short-term basis. A relatively new approach for home-care of bad breath is by oil-containing mouthwashes. The use of essential oils has been studied, was found effective and is being used in several commercial mouthwashes, as well as the use of two-phase (oil:water) mouthwashes, which have been found to be effective in reducing oral malodor.
If bad breath is persistent, and all other medical and dental factors have been ruled out, specialised testing and treatment is required. Hundreds of dental offices and commercial breath clinics now claim to diagnose and treat bad breath. However, check with your doctor or dentist to learn more about new treatments and their efficiency.