Our experts offers top tips to a fresher smile...
First of all, how do we know if our breath is smelly? Apart from people avoiding close proximity to us, if we suspect the worse, we can either ask someone close to us – children are normally our most honest judges – or, alternatively lick our wrist and wait, sniff and see what we think. It should be obvious if it’s bad news!
So why do we get bad breath – or halitosis, as it is officially known.
Dentist Thomas Norlin is the developer of the mouth rinse CB12 and owner of Esthetique Dental in Shropshire and our bad breath expert.
He says: ‘All bacteria in the mouth like different substances. It’s the nasty gram negative that, as well as causing gum disease can also create halitosis by releasing small amounts of gases.
‘These gases are associated with harmful food and us humans are very sensitive to the gases and we can smell them, even in very small amounts, which means that the minimum amount of bacteria – and their favourite amino acids – can set off a pong that we can smell just a couple of metres away.
‘Reflux of food sends up half digested food. This means that there are a lot of available amino acids in the stomach juices that will send our gas production into overdrive, especially if we have cysteine and methionine present.’
Eggs, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish and meats all contain high levels of methionine. Cysteine can be found in cheese.
Thomas Norlin explains: ‘Eating these foods alone will trigger a reaction. But fast foods, such as a burger for example, will contain the amino acids. Broken down partially in the stomach, the residue slurry will free those amino acids – and this is a great way to feed our bacteria if we want some good gas production!’
So, what should we do to reduce the risk?
He says: ‘Quite simply, avoid these foods. Eat more fruit and veg, drink water and remember to stay hydrated. You want to stimulate normal saliva flow as this helps to reduce the formation of these gases.
‘There are, of course, other causes of bad breath. Tonsil stones, for example, can be problematic and do stink.
‘Tonsils have crypts in which food debris will collect with bacteria and, again, it is the same process where food is broken down and the bacteria are producing the gases we are sensitive against.
‘Salt-water rinses help and if you can press gently to empty the tonsil crypt, then do so or seek medical help. Keep a good oral hygiene regime and keep the germ count down. It helps to clean the tongue as well.
CB12 mouth rinse is the only compound that eliminates bad breath for a sustained period by inhibiting the formation of gases. Volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) account for approximately 90% of the total sulphur content of mouth air and are the main culprits of halitosis.
People prone to halitosis include those undergoing orthodontic work and it is in their best interest to see a hygienist every three months to help maintain optimal oral health.
Patients who are embarking on any orthodontic treatment should have a hygiene session prior to an appliance being fitted.
During this appointment the hygienist is able to go through an appropriate regime suited to the individual and advise the best interval period between future appointments.
Our oral health expert, Melonie Prebble, recommends keeping a food diary to help identify and track triggers for bad breath.
She says: ‘A food diary is an excellent tool that helps us offer tailored advice with halitosis and is also the perfect resource to help guide parents to better health with dietary advice.’
Eating raw fruits and vegetables for breakfast to counter the dry mouth effects of sleeping can also help saliva flow that washes away food particles and bacteria.
Chewing raw foods can also help to scrape away some of the plaque that builds up on teeth, so if you don’t have access to a toothbrush, try chomping down on a raw carrot or apple instead.
book a consultation with Thomas Norlin, ESTHETIQUE DENTAL
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