Tags Posts tagged with "Bad Breath & Halitosis"

Bad Breath & Halitosis

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Best Mouth Wash for Bad Breath
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Mouthwash and Bad BreathDid you know that as many as half of all Americans say that they suffer from bad breath?

Many people have turned to mouthwash to try to curb their oral odor, but does mouthwash really help fight bad breath?  If so, which one is the best?

Mouthwash Can Fight Bad Breath

Many mouthwashes used to simply provide a strong, pleasant aroma to cover up bad breath.  As time passed, mouthwash manufacturers began adding certain ingredients to their mouthwashes to help fight bad breath.

Today, there are many varieties of mouthwash available.  Although most of them have flavors that would appear to freshen your breath, only mouthwashes that contain certain ingredients are able to help fight bad breath.
Researchers wanted to find out whether or not mouthwashes actually helped fight bad breath.  The following quote is from a systematic review that combined the results of five different studies to determine the following:
“This review, which included five trials (293 participants), found that there is some evidence that mouthrinses containing antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride or those containing chlorine dioxide and zinc can to some extent reduce the unpleasant odour but the use of mouthrinses containing chlorhexidine resulted in noticeable but temporary staining of the tongue and teeth.”

As long as the mouthwash contains an antibacterial agent such as chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) or zinc and/or chlorine dioxide, it may be able to fight bad breath.

Before trying a mouthwash to control your bad breath, try one of these five methods to find out if you have bad breath and then try to find out what is causing your bad breath by learning about some common causes of bad breath.

Which Mouthwash Is Best for Bad Breath?

In the United States, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine are only available by prescription. The only antibacterial that this review found to be effective against bad breath that is also available over the counter in the United States is CPC. CPC in combination with zinc can be found in many mouthwashes.

Breath Rx Mouthwash
Breath Rx mouthwash can fight bad breath

This BreathRx mouthwash from Amazon contains CPC as well as zinc to neutralize bad breath-causing volatile sulfur compounds. Crest Pro Health mouthwashes are another alternative, but they have been the target of some rather negative reviews.

You may be wondering where other mouthwash products such as Listerine fit in. Listerine contains a variety of essential oils that decrease bad breath. Although Listerine was shown to decrease bad breath in many of the studies that were reviewed, products containing an antibacterial along with zinc were shown to do a better job at fighting bad breath.

Is Mouthwash the Best Method of Fighting Bad Breath?

Although many people use mouthwash because it is easy to simply rinse their mouth out, there are other ways of fighting bad breath.  Good oral hygiene along with cleaning your tongue has been shown to reduce bad breath.  Getting rid of the pl

Do you have any questions or comments about mouthwash and bad breath?  Leave your comments below.  Thanks for reading!

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How to Detect if You Have Bad Breath
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Imagine driving down a country road on a beautiful afternoon.  All of the sudden, you see an accident ahead.  You pull your car over and run to the scene.  You notice that a man that isn’t breathing and doesn’t have a pulse.

Beautiful Country RoadYou decide to begin CPR.  After 30 chest pushes, you lean down to give two short breaths, just like you learned in your CPR course and all of the sudden, the man lurches up and begs you not to breathe your nasty breath into his lungs.

Not everyone wants to wait until situations like these to find out if they have bad breath.  Luckily, you don’t have to!

Here’s five simple ways to find out if your breath stinks.

Five Ways To Find Out If You Have Bad Breath

1 – Ask a Trusted Friend

This is the quickest, easiest, and probably most accurate way to find out if you have bad breath.  If you don’t feel comfortable asking anyone, then why not ask your dentist next time you go in for a visit?  If you do have bad breath, your dentist will be able to help you determine the cause so that you can be on your way to breathing out fresher air.

2 – Scrape Your Tongue and Smell It

You could use a tongue scraper or even a spoon to do this.  Alternatively, you can use a Q-Tip, cotton swap, or a piece of gauze and run it along your teeth, tongue, the inside of your cheek and on your gums.  Then take it out of your mouth and smell it.

Scraping your tongue is a good habit to get into because it can help get rid of bad breath anti anxiety when you scrape your tongue daily.

If you’re in a pinch, take a tooth pick and scrape it between a few of your teeth and then smell it.

3 – Use a Breath Testing Kit

There are new pocket bad breath testing kits being developed that will easily let you test your breath.  This can be a good option if you are uncomfortable asking someone else and want a reliable answer to the question of whether or not your breath smells.

Another option is a professional breath tester, known as a halimeter or sulfide meter.  You’ll probably have to go to a doctor to get your breath tested with a with one of these high-tech devices, which makes me wonder why you wouldn’t simply ask your doctor.

4 – Hand Cupping

Hand cupping is a popular method.  Simply cup your hands around your mouth and breathe out.  Try to get a nice, slow, humid breath out and then breathe it back in with your nose.  With this method, you need to assume that your breath is a bit worse than it smells because we usually get used to our own odors.

5 – Lick the Back of Your Hand

Simply lick the back of your hand, wait a few seconds, and smell it.  If it smells offensive then chances are that your breath is offending those around you.

Any Other Methods?

These are the methods that I’ve heard of, but I’m sure there’s more out there.  If you know of any other ways to find out if you have bad breath or if you want to share your experience detecting your bad breath, go ahead and leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading!

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Flossing Mistakes
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It seems so simple to just slide some string between your teeth to clean those hard-to-reach areas.  While the idea is simple, there are a few techniques that you need to master in order to maximize the return on the time you spend flossing.

Here are ten common mistakes that people make when they floss:

10 Common Flossing Mistakes

1 – Not Flossing the Sides of Both Teeth

Flossing MistakesIf you just slide the floss down, and then pull it up, you are only getting 50% of the job done.  When you move the floss up between two teeth, you need to make sure that you are cleaning the side of both teeth.  One of the favorite places for plaque to hide is between teeth. If you’re only removing plaque from the side of one of the teeth, you could easily get a cavity on the tooth that you’re not flossing.

Find out about six common places where you are most likely to get cavities.

2 – Using the Same Section of Floss Between All of Your Teeth

When you floss you are removing bacteria from between your teeth and below the gum-line.  If you use the same section of floss for all of the teeth in your mouth, you are spreading around a lot of bacteria.  Of course you still are loosening the plaque, which has its benefits, but if you use a new section of floss each time you floss between two teeth, you will be loosening the plaque without putting plaque that you’ve already removed back in between your teeth.

3 – Snapping the Floss Down Hard Between Your Teeth

To get the floss to go between a tight contact between two adjacent teeth, try working the floss back and forth applying a firm but controlled downward pressure.

Snapping the floss down between the teeth can not only injure your gums in the short-term, but the trauma can cause your gums to recede.  Do it enough, and you’ll cause gum disease.

4 – Not Flossing Behind the Very Back Teeth

Even though there isn’t a tooth next to it, it is still important to clean behind the four teeth that are all the way in the back of your mouth (two teeth on each side in the upper and lower jaws.)  This can help remove bacteria that has made its way  between your tooth and gums.

5 – Flossing Aimlessly Without a Plan

When you floss, you need to have a road-map of what order you are going to floss your teeth in, or you can quickly become confused and miss some teeth or even a quadrant of your mouth.  It may be easiest to start in the upper right and go to the upper left, then come down to the lower teeth in the bottom left and move across to the bottom right.

However, as long as you have a plan, it really doesn’t matter which teeth you floss first.  Personally, I start right in the middle of my upper teeth and work my way back on one side and then on the other.  Then I do the same thing on the lower teeth.  Just find a “floss order” that works for you and stick to it so that you don’t forget to floss any teeth.

Dental Floss

6 – Not Flossing Around Dental Appliances

Many people don’t know that if they have fixed dental appliances in their mouth, they need to floss around them.  For example, if you have a bridge, it is necessary to use a floss threader, or get something similar to Oral-B Superfloss.

I had braces on my lower teeth when I was a teenager.  After I had them removed, the orthodontist cemented a wire that connects to each of my six lower front teeth.  This stabilizes them, but also makes it impossible to use conventional floss due to the wire.  Because of this, I have to use Superfloss or floss threaders to get under the wire so I can floss and maintain my gum health.

7 – Quitting When Your Gums Bleed

Blood may scare some people when they floss because they think that they are hurting their gums if they bleed.  You are not hurting them as long as you’re not flossing too hard (see mistake #3.)

Most likely, the reason they bleed is because they haven’t been flossed in a while and the gum tissue has become red and inflamed.  This is a condition known as gingivitis and it occurs because the body is sending more blood to the gum.  This is to help the tissue fight all of the plaque that is accumulating.  When you floss, you are removing that plaque, and since the tissue is inflamed and engorged with blood, you are causing some of the blood to leak out.  After a few days, your gums should return to health and you can floss normally without any bleeding.

8 – Not Spending Enough Time With Your Floss

Most people have 28 teeth if they’ve had their wisdom teeth extracted.  When you floss, you need to get both sides of the teeth (even the most posterior teeth – see mistake #4.)  That means that there are 56 sides that you need to get.  You should be spending a couple of seconds with each side, scraping up and down against the tooth a few times before moving onto the next surface.  That means that it will probably take you around two minutes to floss your entire mouth if you have a full set of teeth.

9 – Not Applying Pressure to the Tooth Surface

When you floss, you want to be careful to avoid using too much downward pressure so you don’t damage your gums.  However, when you are flossing against the side of a tooth, you want to make sure that you are pushing the floss against the tooth surface enough to be able to remove the plaque.

10 – Only Using Floss to Remove Food

Unfortunately, lots of people think that the only reason for flossing is to remove food that has gotten wedged between their teeth. I think many people end up doing this because they can see the food between their teeth — they can’t see the plaque.  An easy solution to this problem is to use a plaque disclosing tablet/solution to visualize the plaque on your teeth.

When you floss, your primary goal should be to scrape against each tooth to remove as much plaque as you can.  As long as you are doing this, you should be getting rid of the food between your teeth without even thinking about it.

Floss Correctly and Keep Your Teeth For Your Whole Life

By avoiding these ten common mistakes, you will be able floss more efficiently which will lead to greater oral health.  Since many cavities start out between two teeth, you will be able to prevent many cavities by regularly flossing and avoiding these ten flossing mistakes.

Do you have any questions or comments about flossing?  I’d love to hear them!  Just leave them below in the comments section.

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Smokers Have Less Teeth Than Non-Smokers
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It’s common knowledge that smoking has many awful effects on your health.  Since I try to deal with oral health on this blog, I won’t go into all of the systemic health risks of smoking.  I’ll just talk a little bit about the oral health risks.

Smoking Isn't Good for Your Oral HealthSmoking puts you at greater risk for oral cancer, such as lip, mouth, tongue, and throat cancers.  Smoking is strongly associated with gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss.

Cosmetically, smoking can discolor your teeth (causing some smokers to fall for online teeth whitening scams) and cause bad breath.

What many people may not know is that smokers, on average, have less teeth than non-smokers.

Smokers Have Less Teeth, On Average, Than Non-Smokers

This study published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Dental Research looked at 43,112 male health professionals in the United States.  It found that those who smoke 5 to 14 cigarettes per day are two times more likely to lose teeth than a non-smoker.  People who smoke more than 45 cigarettes per day have three times the risk of losing teeth than a non-smoker.

An interesting conclusion of that study was that if you used to be a smoker, but hadn’t smoked in ten years, you still were 20% more likely to lose teeth than a non-smoker.  Quitting smoking can lower your risk of losing teeth to nearly that of a non-smoker.

A Study of Americans’ Oral Health Found That Smokers Are Missing More Teeth

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 1988 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002 found that on average, smokers had lost more teeth than former smokers, and former smokers were missing more teeth than those who had never rouched a cigarette to their lips.

Here’s a graph I created using the data from the NHANES study:

Smoking Is Associated With Tooth Loss

As shown above, smokers are missing more teeth.  Interestingly, people are keeping their teeth for longer, as shown by the lower numbers at the turn of the century as compared to the numbers from 1988 to 1994.

Why Do Smokers Have Less Teeth than Non-Smokers?

The reason that smokers have less teeth is probably due to multiple factors.  It could be an interaction with the chemicals or smoke from the cigarettes and the mouth.  Some say that because smoking decreases bone density in the whole body, it decreases the strength of the bone that holds the teeth into place, thus causing more smokers to lose teeth.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that “[Adults with teeth] who were current smokers had a higher prevalence of untreated tooth decay (35.0%) than did those who never smoked (18.6%) and former smokers (17.7%).”

Perhaps those who smoke aren’t as concerned about taking care of their teeth.

What are your thoughts?  Please leave any comments and/or questions that you may have below in the comments section.  Also, if you know someone who might like this article, please don’t hesitate to share it with them.