Health & Wellness Articles

How to Banish Bad Breath

When a Mint Just Won't Do...

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You’ve tried mints, gum and mouthwash but nothing works. Bad breath is affecting your social life, causing you to shy away from your loved ones and preventing you from speaking up at work. You’ve already spent a small fortune to cover it up, but it never stays away for very long. What really causes bad breath and how can you get rid of it?

Is it Temporary or Chronic?
Temporary bad breath can occur after eating certain foods, such as onions and cabbage, which contain high levels of sulfur compounds. When these foods are digested, the sulfur compounds are absorbed by the bloodstream, carried to the lungs and released in the form of bad breath when you exhale or speak. Changing your diet to avoid foods like these can help prevent this type of bad breath.

Chronic halitosis, or long-term bad breath, is another story.

Bacteria flourish on your tongue, especially towards the back third. These bacteria break down the leftover food in your mouth, resulting in substances called volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). These VSCs are the most common cause of bad breath. To treat this kind of bad breath you need to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

The bacteria responsible for bad breath thrive when your mouth is dry. Conventional mouthwash, which contains alcohol, dries out your mouth and may actually cause bad breath more than it helps. Instead of an alcohol-based mouthwash, look for alcohol-free varieties or products that contain "chlorine dioxide," which attacks the VSCs at the molecular level to treat bad breath at the source instead of just covering up the smell.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by maintaining good oral hygiene—regular flossing (daily) and brushing of the teeth and tongue (at least twice per day). The tongue is a hotbed of bacterial growth, harboring millions of organisms in a bunch of tiny nooks and crannies. The most efficient way of cleaning the tongue is with a tongue scraper, a special tool made of plastic or metal that is scraped along the surface to remove the film of bacteria. The scraper should be placed as far back on the tongue as you can to remove the most bacteria as possible.

While you can brush your tongue with a regular toothbrush, a study by The Cochrane Collaboration found that tongue scrapers are more efficient at removing bacteria, removing 44 percent of VSCs (compared to the 30 percent removed by simply brushing the tongue).
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • NIARAMADINA
    great article....very helpful. thank you http://stoptonsil
    stones.blogsp
    ot.com - 10/15/2014 12:10:13 AM
  • BETTYCOOPER121
    My sister has problem of bad breath. This tips & advises would surely help her. Thankuu for sharing this article. - 10/22/2013 11:37:01 AM
  • thanks - 2/10/2013 4:22:46 PM
  • MADDISON741
    I have had bad breath, lost my job due to it. tried to find a new job but it's very hard once you stink up the office. I had tonsil stones and awful bad breath. My friend told me to Google Oraltech Labs as it got rid of his bad breath and his post nasal drip. I've been following Oraltech Labs for about 2 weeks now and I feel much better, also people are not avoiding me anymore so it seems to have cured my bad breath as well. - 8/1/2012 8:17:13 AM
  • MADDISON741
    I have had bad breath, lost my job due to it. tried to find a new job but it's very hard once you stink up the office. I had tonsil stones and awful bad breath. My friend told me to Google Oraltech Labs as it got rid of his bad breath and his post nasal drip. I've been following Oraltech Labs for about 2 weeks now and I feel much better, also people are not avoiding me anymore so it seems to have cured my bad breath as well. - 8/1/2012 8:12:40 AM
  • Good to have this info. Especially the advantages of the tongue scraper. I had thought it was just another gimmic. And the info on Listerine...price
    less. I will try the honey and lemon also.
    - 1/9/2012 7:03:01 PM
  • www.therabreath.c
    om products work really well they oxidize the surlfur compounds without alchol. the Mouthwash is amazing it really works you can but this stuff at CVS but I agree about the diet playing a huge role espically dairy it give people bad breath... yuck! - 1/18/2011 12:57:13 AM
  • Very good article. - 10/31/2010 4:56:13 PM
  • BVHACK
    This is a wonderful article! I learned a lot from the comments also. I will stop using Listerine and share this article with my adult Son. - 10/24/2010 11:39:12 PM
  • JOSSISTER
    As a dental hygienist, I think you covered the importance of good dental hygiene, as well as many other factors that contribute to bad breath. I will print this article and share it with my patients! - 8/27/2010 10:48:36 AM
  • thanks for these posts.....I have tried so many things to get rid of the bad breathe for my grandson ...we gave up alcohol mouthwash years ago and went to non.....only helped for a few hours. - 7/23/2010 1:39:12 PM
  • Good atricle! Thanks! Another reason for drinking that water! - 7/12/2010 9:28:47 PM
  • Death begins in the colon. Eat an alkaline diet which promotes good bacteria (prebiotic vegetables esp) naturally, rather than with man-made food (yogurt). The other 'end' won't smell either. ;) - 7/10/2010 9:45:42 PM
  • Simple, practical, timely, do-able. Interesting article. - 7/10/2010 10:35:58 AM
  • Appreciate the info. Thanks. - 7/10/2010 9:51:36 AM

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