Fresh breath is an important indicator of a person’s health. Bad breath is usually the result of sulphur-producing bacteria that live in the grooves or fibres at the back of the tongue. Normally, our saliva helps wash away the bacteria in the mouth and on the tongue. However, if the saliva sits on the back of the tongue for any length of time and is digested by the bacteria, it forms white film that is an ideal breeding environment for them. Sulphur compounds are also produced by certain types of food and, after digestion, the sulphur molecules make their way into the bloodstream and to the lungs where you breathe them out. Eliminating bad breath
Daily brushing and flossing of your teeth, as well as thoroughly brushing the back of the tongue, will remove the plaque and bacteria that often cause bad breath. Take care to avoid foods that have strong odours and drink lots of water to ensure that the mouth is moist and clean – its an environment that bacteria cannot thrive in.
Mouth rinses are also an easy and effective way to maintain a clean and fresh feeling mouth. Rinsing for 1 to 2 minutes is usually sufficient to kill germs and freshen breath and they are ideal for people who cannot brush or floss their teeth as often as they should. There are two main types of mouth rinses:
- Cosmetic mouth rinses – help to break down bacteria, clean the surface of teeth and provide a pleasant taste. Cosmetic rinses are a quick fix and can only hide bad breath for up to three hours.
- Therapeutic mouth rinses – these go further than cosmetic rinses by preventing certain oral diseases. They can be one of two types; anti-plaque or fluoride. Anti-plaque rinses break down the plaque that collects on and in between teeth, but suffer from an effectiveness of only 15 to 20 percent. Fluoride rinses, on the other hand, are highly effective at killing the bacteria that lead to cavities.