According to experts, around half of South Africans suffer from bad breath and this is often due simply to inadequate oral hygiene. We asked three dental professionals to explain the most essential steps to help you beat bad breath for good.
Dr Linda Greenwall is a London-based dentist who founded the Dental Wellness Trust. Their South African LiveSmart programme currently teaches good oral care to 15,000 children in poorly-resourced areas of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Greenwall says many South Africans don’t know the basic oral skills: “When they first join us many children don’t own a toothbrush, they may share one with their family. It’s unsurprising so many have dental disease before the age of six. Brushing the teeth correctly twice a day is essential for good oral health, fresh breath and to prevent cavities.”
This isn’t only a problem in low-income areas; according to Angelique Kearney, President of the Oral Hygiene Association of South Africa (OHASA). ”More than half of South Africans suffer from bad breath, medically known as halitosis. It goes hand in hand with poor oral hygiene, gum disease and other oral health issues. Only a very small percentage of cases of oral malodour are caused by sinus problems or metabolic diseases.”
Bad breath is caused by bacteria on the teeth, gums and tongue. “If bacteria, plaque and food debris are not properly removed from the mouth they break down and release foul-smelling gases, irritate the gums and potentially cause disease,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s Oral Hygiene Advisor.
All three experts agree an effective daily oral care routine is the best way to keep the mouth healthy and breath fresh. Grobbelaar explains the four essential steps to beat bad breath:
- Brush correctly twice a day for two minutes each time, with a soft-bristled brush.
- Clean in-between the teeth every day, using floss or another interdental tool, such as Sunstar GUM Soft-Picks or tiny interdental brushes. If you’re not sure how to do it correctly, or which tool to use, ask your dental professional. These videos will help you can floss like a boss.
- Remove plaque and food debris from the tongue by gently scraping the surface once a day using a teaspoon or a tool specially designed for the job like the Sunstar GUM Tongue Cleaner.
- Go for an annual check-up at the dentist and ideally have a professional clean with the oral hygienist to remove plaque and tartar build-up you’re unable to remove by normal brushing and flossing.
“Additional tools like an alcohol-free mouthwash and toothpaste are helpful, but the most important part of your oral care routine is the mechanical removal of plaque on the teeth,” says Kearney.
For further expert oral care advice speak to your dental professional or read this article.
Test your #FreshBreathPower this February
How well does your oral health know-how score? Take the #FreshBreathPower quiz this February to find out. You could win a fabulous Sunstar GUM oral care prize worth over R 1, 510 and Sunstar GUM will donate a children’s toothbrush to the Dental Wellness Trust on your behalf to brighten a child’s smile. Terms and conditions apply.