Archive for October, 2010

What’s Causing Your Bad Breath?

Halitosis (bad breath) can come from a number of sources.  Illness and certain foods can emit odors from the stomach, lungs or even the sinuses.  However, these circumstances account for less than 10 percent of all cases.

The typically healthy person is more likely to have bad breath as a result of Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs) which are produced by bacteria populating the gums and teeth, but especially the back of the tongue and palate.  Most people know that brushing and flossing your teeth and the gums can help combat bad breath, and some even know enough to brush the tongue.  However, most people do not identify the palate as a source of halitosis.

The major source of these bacteria is the tongue.  The tongue is rough and has a large surface area.  It is not cleansed by chewing like the teeth.  Here the bacteria can flourish and, since the tongue is frequently in contact with the palate, the palate is the next major contributor to this nuisance.

Tongue scrapers are a popular tool used by people to cleanse the tongue, however, often times they do not see a marked improvement because a tongue scraper does nothing to combat the bacteria that the palate harbors.  Therefore, the best defense against bad breath is to brush the back of the tongue and the back of the palate. Although gagging may occur when reaching these areas, cleaning these critical areas will significantly reduce any unwelcome odor.

The next step in eliminating bad breath is restoring decayed teeth and treating any periodontal disease if present.  Obviously, for smokers, breaking the smoking habit is a major factor.

If a patient wants to go the extra step, there are new mouth rinses that contain chemicals that actually break down VSCs into a non-odor producing by-product.  Just let us know if you’re interested and we can special order one for you from our suppliers.     

Add comment October 2, 2010