Preventing bad breath


Brushing and flossing are two of the most crucial elements for attacking bad breath. Bacteria that live on our teeth and gums cause bad breath. These bacteria feast on food particles left on our teeth creating volatile sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds give breath its foul odor. Brushing and flossing remove bacteria and the food bacteria feast on so that they can no longer create volatile sulfur compounds. Sadly, many people do not brush long enough to remove bacteria from their teeth. It takes two to three minutes to brush all tooth surfaces yet most people spend less than a minute brushing their teeth. Worse yet, few people take the time to floss allowing odor producing bacteria to grow rampantly in the spaces between your teeth. Brushing without flossing is like washing only seventy percent of your body when you bathe of which the other 30% remains dirty.

Prevention through brushing or flossing

While brushing and flossing are crucial first steps, brushing and flossing do not always eliminate bad breath. This is because odor-causing bacteria hide deep within the crevices of the tongue. Ironically, many of these bacteria are anaerobic meaning they cannot live in oxygen. They live safe from oxygen under a protective layer of mucous, food particles and proteins. Cleaning your tongue with a tongue cleaner can remove this layer and much of the bacteria that reside on your tongue. Remember to clean near the back of the tongue where most of the bacteria resides but be careful not to gag yourself.

Use of other preventions

Mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are the latest advances against bad breath. Conventional mouthwashes at best only temporarily mask bad breath odor. At worst, conventional mouthwashes can make the situation worse by drying out the mouth making it more hospitable to odor producing bacteria. Chlorine dioxide has been used for years to sanitize water supplies. In these mouthwashes the chlorine dioxide directly attacks the volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath. If you can't brush after a meal or snack consider chewing sugarless gum. This chewing action helps cleanse the teeth and stimulates the flow of saliva. Saliva in turn further helps to cleanse the mouth and dissolves odorous volatile sulfur compounds. One should make sure, however, to use gum that does not contain sugar.

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