Last week we addressed some of the causes behind bad breath (halitosis). This week we will discuss ways to treat and control your bad breath.
Brushing and Flossing
The best way to treat and control your bad breath is through good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing go a long way to remove bacteria that can cause halitosis. If your bad breath is due to the food you eat, by brushing and flossing you not only remove bacteria; you also remove any of those food particles that are stuck in your mouth. Using minty toothpaste also can temporarily mask the smell of any strong odors that may be caused by consuming pungent foods.
Our Evanston dentists recommend using a tongue scraper as another way to help treat halitosis. The back of your tongue can accumulate bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells which can lead to bad breath. By cleaning your tongue regularly, you can remove these culprits and help keep your breath fresh. Toothbrushes are designed to clean the hard tooth surface and are not as effective in cleaning the softer anatomy of your tongue. A tongue scraper is the best way to keep your tongue clean.
Specific mouthwashes may help treat halitosis, depending on the cause. If you have bad breath due to dry mouth, using a mouthwash containing glycerin will help to moisturize your mouth and control your halitosis. On the other hand, if your bad breath is caused by food or periodontal disease, a mouthwash will not help.
Listerine and other alcohol based mouthwashes will temporarily give you fresh breath, as they cover up the smell more than actually attacking the root of the problem. Also, the alcohol in them is very drying to your oral tissues. Instead, choose a mouth wash containing zinc, such as SmartMouth, which helps neutralize the compounds that are responsible for the smells.
If you feel you are suffering from chronic bad breath, speak to your dentist. They will help you identify the underlying cause – whether it is periodontal disease or another medical condition. Once you know what is causing your halitosis, you will be better equipped to treat it. Your dentist may also be able to recommend treatment options that are more targeted to your condition.