It’s all well and good seeking a smile makeover, but what if bad breath is ruining your smile? Cosmetic dentist Thomas Norlin looks at prevention, causes — and offers the solutions that will turn any ‘monster mouth’ into the breath of an angel
Fear you have bad breath? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Apparently, some 40% of us worry about the health of our mouths every day. Personal hygiene inevitably plays a major part in our lives — from personal relationships to the working environment; even a morning trip into the office can be marred by the malodour of a fellow commuter. But, what if that smell is coming from your mouth?
Bad breath is unpleasant for the sufferer as well as those suffering around them, but it can be an awkward issue to tackle with many of us too embarrassed to tell even the closest of friends, let alone a work colleague or fellow passenger on a train.
Offering a mint to a colleague with overpowering smelly breath is often the easiest route when trying to drop subtle hints.
Apparently, 71% of us would want someone to tell us if we have bad breath, yet only 29% of us would be brave enough to tell someone they had bad breath.
But bad breath can have a terrible impact on self-esteem, too, as well as relationships So, what causes malodour — and how best to tackle it?
To treat the malodour we need to understand what we are dealing with. What is bad breath and where does it come from? It has been shown that 90% of bad breath is originating from the oral cavity. What we smell are actually small amount of sulphur-containing gases. Since humans do not tolerate rotten meat where also these gases occur, we have developed a very sensitive nose for these gases during evolution. Some of the gases we can detect in as small amount as a couple of nano-grams in 10ml of exhaled air. There are bacteria in our mouth that are capable of producing these gasses when amino acids — especially cysteine and methionine — are metabolised by the bacteria and as a by-product the gases are produced. This means we can try to reduce the bacteria or their substrate to improve the smell. But how does this translate into the advice that we are generally given?
Basic dietary choices and hygiene habits play a significant in the successful management of bad breath — or halitosis, as it is also known.
One study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that teenagers were almost twice as likely to suffer from bad breath when they skip breakfast.
It revealed that almost a fifth of participants questioned admitted that they had missed breakfast and, of these, one in three (36%) suffered with bad breath.
During the night the saliva flow slows down and the cells shed from epithelia in the mouth stays behind and starts to break down. The decrease in the saliva also enables the bacteria to start to build up. This leads to an increase in the availability of both amino acids and the bacteria and, of course, we will start to produce the gases that we associate with decaying protein
Interdental cleaning is a vital part of your dental cleaning routine and interdental brushes or floss an important part of your armoury but, in this time-poor world, many of us often fail to address the common problems that lead to its causes. Having dentures or constructions that are hard to clean can also mean more bacteria.
Diet choices also make a difference. Eating food that contain large amounts of one of the bacteria’s favourite amino acids — cysteine — such as cheese, will again create more gas production.
Prevention is easy if you stick to the rules! It’s an obvious tip but make sure you commit to the ‘two minutes twice a day’ recommended brushing routine and be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste.
Visit a dentist regularly — this may need to be more regularly if you have a propensity to suffer with and breath. Certain medications can cause a dry mouth — or xerostomia, to give it its proper name — so be sure to share this information with your dental team.
Dry mouth means you don't have enough saliva to keep your mouth wet, which controls bacteria in the mouth.
Lots of medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers and, if it’s a problem, speak to your doctor. You may be able to change your medication.
It goes without saying but smoking is banned. It not only makes your breath smell, but it is a huge contributing factor to mouth cancers and can also leave unsightly nicotine stains on teeth that are difficult to shift. Smokers can also suffer gum disease and gum irritation, too.
Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Be sure to top up on still water (carbonated water can lead to tooth erosion) regularly. When saliva in the mouth is stimulated it washes away bacteria
Speak to your dentist about any concerns you have with your breath, there may be a more serious underlying problem and it’s always good to have a dental professional give your mouth a thorough check to rule anything out anything serious or address it immediately should there be cause for concern.
Additionally, the CB12 mouth rinse, created by dental professionals, has a unique, patented formula that’s able to eliminate unpleasant breath for up to 12 hours. It attacks the formation of the gases by stopping the enzymes the bacteria needs to metabolise the amino acids and thereby no gases are produced. This means that no gases are produced and the breath stays free from these malodour-smelling gases. CB12 also offers a sugarfree dual action chewing gum called Boost to invigorate the breath.
It’s easy to use, works instantly and gives you the first class breath you need to feel invigorated and self-assured all day.