5 Expert fixes for fresh breath
Everyone’s breath gets a little stinky sometimes, right? And, although halitosis is rarely a serious medical issue, it can affect your confidence. Bad breath has even been linked to social anxiety and depression.
To help you keep it fresh, our oral hygiene advisor Dirna Grobbelaar asked her colleagues at the Oral Hygienists Association of South Africa (OHASA) to share their top tips on how to beat bad breath.
The key is to remove bacteria and food debris from your mouth. If not removed, these will break down and decay, releasing foul odours in the process.
Here are 5 oral-hygienist approved fixes for fresh breath and a healthy mouth and body.
1. Brush: Brushing, even when done correctly for a full two minutes, will remove only about half the plaque on your teeth and gums. So whilst brushing twice a day is of paramount importance, on its own, brushing is not enough to prevent oral malodour.
2. Clean in-between: As your toothbrush can’t reach right between the teeth, daily interdental cleaning is necessary to remove any plaque or food debris trapped there. According to OHASA, only about a third of South Africans clean in-between daily and about 40% of them are not doing it correctly. No wonder an estimated half of our population have bad breath at any one time.
Anri Bernardo, recently-elected president of OHASA says interproximal care is extra important for people with bleeding gums or periodontal disease. “Even when periodontal disease is under control, the gums may have receded, forming food traps. It’s vital to clean these areas correctly to prevent further infection as well as bad breath.”
Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor and OHASA member, says there’s no excuse not to clean in-between as there is a multitude of tools available to make it a simple process. “If you don’t like flossing, try picks (like the award-winning rubber GUM Soft-Picks) or an oral irrigator. Tiny interdental brushes, such as the GUM Bi-Direction which has a unique, bendable head so you can even reach between teeth at the far back of the mouth, make excellent options for anyone with orthodontic braces, implants or gaps between the teeth.”
3. Clean your tongue: Don’t forget your tongue. Stella Lamprecht, OHASA’s immediate past president recommends gentle scraping every day. “The tongue’s surface has tiny grooves where bacteria and plaque can accumulate. Everyone, from children to older people, should incorporate tongue cleaning into their daily routine. If you do it before bed, it can help prevent morning” We recommend the GUM Tongue Cleaner.
4. Rinse: Using mouthwash as a final step can give added fresh-breath confidence. Use saltwater or an alcohol-free rinse like Dentyl Dual Action or Sunstar GUM Original White. Alternatively, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and naturally ‘rinse’ the mouth.
5. Professional support: For added care and confidence, Lamprecht recommends a regular professional ‘deep’ clean. “When an oral hygienist scales and polishes the teeth, they eliminate plaque and tartar build-up that you are unable to remove yourself with usual brushing and flossing.”
Lamprecht is passionate about her profession because it has many more benefits to patients than just helping them smell good. “The bacteria that cause bad breath, also irritate the gums and cause cavities. Once you have bleeding gums, ‘bad’ bacteria can enter your bloodstream and this increases your risk of more serious health problems including dementia, heart disease, strokes, kidney problems and even pre-term births. Effective oral hygiene is a vital part of caring for your health and wellness.”
To find the best cleaning regime and tools to suit your mouth and lifestyle, chat with your oral hygienist. For further advice on beating bad breath read this article.
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Medicina, vol 57, issue 6: Adolescence, Adulthood and Self-Perceived Halitosis: A Role of Psychological Factors – https://www.mdpi.com/1648-9144/57/6/614/htm