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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Halitosis: Beat Bad Breath

The most common cause of halitosis is waste products (volatile sulfur compounds) produced by anaerobic oral bacteria. The following are ways to make your mouth a less hospitable environment.

1) Minimize the amount of food available to these bacteria. Bacteria like protein. If you consume a diet of mostly meat, you’re at risk. In contrast, a vegetarian-friendly diet will reduce the amount of food bacteria favor.

2) Minimize the total number of these bacteria that exist. By brushing and flossing regularly, you’ll flush out VSC’s. Flossing is often overlooked, but an imperative step to good breath. Bacteria like to hide between teeth and along the gumline. Flossing is the only way to reach them. Also, be sure and clean your tongue thoroughly, either by brushing or tongue scraping.

3) Use products that help to neutralize volatile sulfur compounds. Look for a toothpaste with zinc and chlorine dioxide which possess neutralizing agents. Mouthwashes and toothpastes containing antibacterial agents will also improve your tongue brushing efforts to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Halitosis: Know the Source

The most common cause of halitosis (aka bad breath) is the bacteria living in a person's mouth. Bacteria is alive, just like humans. And like humans, bacteria consume food and excrete waste. Occasionally, this waste is foul smelling, due to its composition of sulfur compounds. Ever been to Florida and been outside when sprinklers were on? Have you ever smelled a rotten egg? If you've done either of these, you're familiar with the smell of sulfur. Florida water and rotten eggs share a commonality: sulfur compounds.

Dentists refer to the sulfur compounds associated with oral bacteria as volatile sulfur compounds (VSC’s). These little monsters are the culprits at the root of offensive breath. The mouth provides a perfect breeding ground for them. VSC’s are anaerobic (don’t need oxygen), and are right at home on the tongue and along the gumline.