A few words about… Your Breath

Dentist in Homewood, IL

Homewood IL DentistManufacturers sell us many products by claiming that they freshen our breath. In their ads, they present attractive models with fabulous smiles happily swishing with this or that or having a mint or piece of gum, enjoying life, confident that their breath is fresh. One even claims to kill the germs that cause bad breath.

Sure, their products freshen your breath….. for about 20 minutes! That’s it. Even the most clinically effective mouthwash only works for about 20 minutes. Then the germs are back and in full force. Toothpaste is just as powerless. It’s futile to expect the chemicals in either to help much. So, what helps get rid of bad breath? Lets look at the causes.

Bacteria do contribute to bad breath, so it is important to keep your gums and teeth clean and healthy. Good hygiene is paramount. Clean means less bacteria and less odor. Professional cleanings help a lot by getting rid of tartar that attracts bacterial plaque while also reducing inflammation and gum disease. Home hygiene is very important too. Brushing with a Sonicare electric  toothbrush and flossing and using a WaterPik all help keep bacteria to a minimum while keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Research shows that scraping your tongue helps too. It reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Brushing your tongue, however, doesn’t help. We have tongue scrapers for you. Stomach acid can contribute to bad breath too. If you think you have Reflux, GERD, or bulimia, go see your doctor. He or she can diagnose it and treat it in a timely fashion.

One of the most important factors in fighting bad breath is water. Most of us are chronically dehydrated. We don’t drink enough water. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate us even more. A dry mouth allows bacteria to flourish, contributing to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. The alcohol in mouthwash can dry your mouth too. So instead of using mouthwash, drink more water.

Chewing gum, especially gum with Xylitol, does help with bad breath in a couple ways. First, it scrubs your teeth and gums while you chew, thus removing some of the bacterial plaque and food deposits which cause bad breath. Second, it increases saliva flow, which moistens the mouth and buffers the acids that plaque produces. That helps reduce the potential for decay and gum disease while it helps freshen your breath. Xylitol helps by slowing the growth of plaque. Bacteria ingest it like sugar, but can’t metabolize it, so they don’t reproduce as fast.

To review…..
Drink more water; keep hydrated.
Get your teeth cleaned professionally.
Brush and floss and use a WaterPik.
Scrape your tongue.
Chew gum or mints with Xylitol.
Skip the mouthwash.

Contact our office to learn more.