Halitosis, Bad breath,

Mouth rinses


What Is Halitosis?

More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by bacteria from the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth, and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor.

What causes bad breath and what can be done about it?

Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but can also can be caused by retained food particles or gum disease. Proper brushing including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. Mouth rinses are effective in temporary relief of bad breath. Consult your dentist and/or physician if the condition persists.

Does bad breath come from other sources than the mouth?

Bad breath also may occur in people who have a medical infection, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate post-nasal drip. This is where the mucus secretion, which comes from the nose and moves down your throat, gets stuck on the tongue and causes an odor. Bad breath originating in the stomach, however, is considered to be extremely rare.

Why is saliva so important in the fight against bad breath?

Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow down the production of saliva allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. To alleviate "morning mouth," brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning mouth also is associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware because the odor may reappear even if you've brushed your teeth.

Do certain foods cause bad breath?

Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person's breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies even have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath.

How do I control bad breath?

It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. To alleviate the odor, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control the odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist because these products only mask the odor temporarily, and some products work better than others.

What is my dentist's role?

Visit your dentist regularly because checkups will help detect any physical problems. Checkups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can help determine its source. He or she may ask you to schedule a separate appointment to find the source of the odor. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic source (internal), such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.

Do You Have Traveler's Breath?

In addition to racking up additional frequent flyer miles, some travelers may also experience bad breath, and possibly a condition known as "tooth squeeze," while flying the friendly skies, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education.  Bad breath while traveling happens when the salivary glands slow down the production of saliva, which allows the bacteria to grow inside the mouth, and bad breath to develop. Many travelers alter their food intake while at the airport and on the plane, and then will ignore their oral care hygiene routine. Many people increase their fast food and soda intake while traveling.  This leaves food particles in the mouth which produce a sulfur compound, and cause bad breath.  On the other end of the spectrum, bad breath can also be associated with hunger or fasting, which is also a common habit of some frequent fliers. Even if you have brushed your teeth, but not eaten a meal all day, 'morning mouth' may reoccur later in the day.  Another condition that may happen while traveling but is less common than bad breath, is known as "tooth squeeze," which describes a toothache or dental pain resulting from any change in barometric pressure during flight. The pain may, or may not, become more severe as altitude is increased, but descent almost invariably brings relief. The toothache often disappears at the same altitude at which it was first observed on ascent.  Common sources of this difficulty are abscesses or a new filling.  

Does a Smaller Waist Mean Smelly Breath?

As summer approaches, many consumers wanting to slim down are jumping on the low-carbohydrate diet trend in an attempt to lose weight. About 10 million Americans are on a low-carb/high protein diet at any given time. However, as dieters shed pounds, many are saying good-bye to carbs and hello to halitosis. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) offers advice for dieters on battling bad breath.

Low-carb diets work by limiting the amount of carbohydrates ingested, which allows the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates. When the body burns fat as fuel, ketones are developed. These ketones are released in the breath and urine and may result in halitosis. Ketones aren't the only bad breath culprit for this diet. The types of foods ingested also play a role.  Most cases of bad breath originate from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and from bacteria on the gums and tongue.  High protein foods can produce more sulfur compounds, especially overnight on the surface of the tongue when saliva production is diminished.

1. Drink Water to Wash Away Germs

Drinking plenty of water can help dilute the concentration of ketones, but that isn’t the only benefit. Drinking water throughout the day can help cleanse teeth of excess bacteria and food debris. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by food particles caught in the teeth and drinking water will help rinse away odor-causing particles.

2. Chew Sugarless Gum with Xylitol

Chewing sugarless gum after meals can help keep bad breath away. Saliva production increases during chewing and this can help neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. Chewing parsley can have the same effect since it also increases saliva production.  Sugar-free gum with xylitol can also help bad breath while preventing cavities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in plants and fruits and research shows it inhibits the growth of streptococcus mutans, the oral bacteria that cause cavities.

3. Keep a Toothbrush Handy and Brush After All Meals

Brushing and flossing at least twice a day can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent odors. An AGD survey found that 75 percent of people eat at the office but less than 15 percent of them brush their teeth after eating. Cleaning the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper after meals can also help alleviate odors.  If halitosis continues, a general dentist or doctor can help determine the source of the odor. Halitosis can sometimes have more serious causes.  Ketone breath is also used to describe a fruity smell on the breath which can be an indication that the person may have diabetes.  This can originate when the body is breaking down fat particles because there is not sufficient glucose present as fuel for energy.

Scident Solution for Halitosis

The first step in diagnosing bad breath is measuring it objectively.  In most cases, individuals seek treatment for halitosis, because a spouse or a close acquaintance have complained of the situation.  Whether, the problem actually exists, needs to be diagnosed objectively.  There are measurement devices that detect minute amount of sulphur gas in the breath, which corresponds to the severity of bad breath.  At Scident we use Oral Chroma , a very sensitive gas chromatograph that measures the mouth air accurately.  Upon diagnosis of halitosis additional information including, detailed medical and dental history, appropriate diagnostic radiographs, and clinical records will be documented to formulate an effective treatment plan.

Everything one Should know about Mouth rinses

What Are the Differences In Rinses?

Rinses are generally classified as either cosmetic or therapeutic, or a combination of the two. Cosmetic rinses are commercial over-the-counter (OTC) products that help remove oral debris before or after brushing, temporarily suppress bad breath, diminish bacteria in the mouth and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste. Therapeutic rinses have the benefits of their cosmetic counterparts, but also contain an added active ingredient that helps protect against some oral diseases. Therapeutic rinses are regulated by the drug branch of Health Canada and are voluntarily reviewed and approved. Therapeutic rinses also can be categorized into types according to use: anti-plaque/ anti-gingivitis rinses and anti-cavity fluoride rinses.

Should I use a rinse?

That depends upon your needs. Most rinses are, at the very least, effective oral antiseptics that freshen the mouth and curb bad breath for up to three hours. Their success in preventing tooth decay, gingivitis (inflammation of the gingival gum tissue) and periodontal disease is limited, however. Rinses are not considered substitutes for regular dental examinations and proper home care. Dentists consider a regimen of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste followed by flossing, along with routine trips to the dentist, sufficient in fighting tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Which type should I use?

Again, that depends upon your needs. While further testing is needed, initial studies have shown that most over-the-counter anti-plaque rinses and antiseptics aren't much more effective against plaque and periodontal disease than rinsing with plain water. Most dentists are skeptical about the value of these anti-plaque products, and studies point to only a 20 to 25 percent effectiveness, at best, in reducing the plaque that causes gingivitis.

Many dentists consider the use of fluoride toothpaste alone to be more than adequate protection against cavities. Dentists will prescribe certain rinses for patients with more severe oral problems such as caries, periodontal disease, gum inflammation and xerostomia (dry mouth). Patients who've recently undergone periodontal surgery are often prescribed these types of rinses. Likewise, many therapeutic rinses are strongly recommended for those who can't brush due to physical impairments or medical reasons.

What is the best mouth rinse?

Anti-cavity rinses with fluoride have been clinically proven to fight up to 50% more of the bacteria that cause cavities. At Scident we favor alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinses.  There are also hydrogen peroxide based alcohol-free mouth rinses that have general antibacterial activities.  Most rinses, including pure water reduce bad breath and freshen the mouth for a short period; however, effective mouth rinses against halitosis should contain Zinc and baking soda components known to fight bad breath.  Recently, Japanese researchers (Dr. Ken Yaegaki) reported that mouth rinses with green tea  can be very effective against bad breath.

When and how often should I rinse?

If it's an anti-cavity rinse, dentists suggest the following steps, practiced after every meal: brush, floss, then rinse. Teeth should be as clean as possible before applying an anti-cavity rinse to reap the full preventive benefits of the liquid fluoride. The same steps can be followed for anti-plaque rinses, although Plax brand recommends rinsing before brushing to loosen more plaque and debris, a measure which has not been clinically proven to be effective. If ever in doubt, consult your dentist or follow the instructions on the bottle or container. Be sure to heed all precautions listed.

What is the proper way to rinse?

First, take the proper amount of liquid as specified on the container or as instructed by your dentist into your mouth. Next, with the lips closed and the teeth kept slightly apart, swish the liquid around with as much force as possible using the tongue, lips, and sucking action of the cheeks. Be sure to swish the front and sides of the mouth equally. Many rinses suggest swishing for 30 seconds. Finally, rinse the liquid from your mouth thoroughly.

Are there any side effects to rinsing?

Yes, and they vary depending on the type of rinse. Habitual use of antiseptic mouthwashes containing high levels of alcohol (ranging from 18 to 40 percent) may produce a burning sensation in the cheeks, teeth and gums. Alcohol is often used in commercial rinses as a cheaper way of stabilizing active ingredients; however, alcohol can inadvertently damages white polymer fillings and irritate soft tissue.  Many prescribed rinses with more concentrated formulas can lead to ulcers, sodium retention, root sensitivity, stains, soreness, numbness, changes in taste sensation and painful mucosal erosions. Most anti-cavity rinses contain sodium fluoride, which if taken excessively or swallowed, can lead over time to fluoride toxicity. Because children tend to accidentally swallow mouthwash, they should only use rinses under adult supervision. If you experience any irritating or adverse reactions to a mouth rinse, discontinue its use immediately and consult your dentist.