Treatment of Bad Breath— Halitosis
It is approximated that at one time or another between 50% and 60% of people suffer from halitosis. The negative effects are offensive to most men and women. The good news is that, in modern dentistry, dentists can analyze and cure the underlying causes of bad breath.
The most common location for mouth related halitosis is the tongue.Tongue bacteria produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids, and account for 80 to 90% of all cases of mouth-related bad breath. Vast quantities of naturally-occurring bacteria are often found on the posterior dorsum of the tongue, where they are relatively undisturbed by normal activity. When left on the tongue, the anaerobic respiration of such bacteria can yield either the “rotten egg” smell.
Cleaning the tongue
The most widely-known reason to clean the tongue is for the control of bad breath. You can also use mints, mouth sprays, mouthwash or gum, may only temporarily mask the odors created by the bacteria on the tongue, but cannot cure bad breath because they do not remove the source of the bad breath. To prevent the production of the sulfur-containing compounds mentioned above, the actual bad breath casing bacteria on the tongue must be removed, as must the decaying food debris present on the rear areas of the tongue. As a patient you can use a tongue cleaner (tongue scraper), or a toothbrush.
- Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control; that can be achieved using a tooth brush, tongue cleaner or tongue brush/scraper to wipe off the bacterial biofilm, debris, and mucus.
- Gargling right before bedtime with an effective mouthwash (see below). Several types of commercial mouthwashes have been shown to reduce malodor for hours in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Mouthwashes may contain active ingredients that are inactivated by the soap present in most toothpastes. Thus it is recommended to refrain from using mouthwash directly after brushing with toothpaste (also see mouthwashes, below).
- Probiotic treatments, specifically Streptococcus salivarius K12 has been claimed to suppress malodorous bacteria growth.
- Chewing gum: Since dry-mouth can increase bacterial buildup and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, and thereby help to reduce bad breath.
- Maintaining proper oral hygiene, including daily tongue cleaning, brushing, flossing, and periodic visits to dentists and hygienists. Flossing is particularly important in removing rotting food debris and bacterial plaque from between the teeth, especially at the gum line. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution.