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Jul 23, 2009

Healthy Living examines the causes of bad breath

Story PictureIt is unpleasant, preventable and all too common. This week’s Healthy Living takes a deeper look at Halitosis, the causes and the simple steps you can take to prevent it.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Bad breath. Even though it’s not life threatening, it is a health issue that many people spend much time and money trying to prevent. Medically known as halitosis, bad breath can be a great source of discomfort for both the perpetrator and the receiver. Dr. Adrian Heusner explains some of the causes of mouth odor and makes recommendations on sure ways of preventing it.

Dr. Adrian Heusner, Dental Surgeon
“Most bad breath is poor oral hygiene so just because you send your kid in to brush means that he is brushing properly you can brush ten times a day and still has bad breath. If you’re not doing it properly then you’ll still have the bad breath”

Poor oral hygiene is the primary contributor to halitosis. The failure to remove food particles from the teeth, gums and tongue as well as the buildup of plaque are usually at the root of the problem.

Dr. Adrian Heusner
“First of all, it just follows a chain. Plaque build up, which is just simply food particles in the mouth, if you smoke its nicotine can be anything dietary. Once it builds up and stays in your mouth and is not removed, it can lead to bad breath or mouth odor. When plaque is not removed it builds up and becomes calculus. Eventually you get what we call gingivitis. Gingivitis is what we call inflammation of your gums as plaque is not removed you get the calculus and you go from mild to moderate. Eventually it gets to severe. Where you actually get infection in the gum, infection in the bones you get periodontitis and if you have all that necrotic tissue and all of that plaque you will have odour in your mouth.”

Dry mouth is another contributor to bad breath. This is a very ferquent side effect from many common medications. The lack of saliva can be remedied by chewing gum and drinking water and there are special products that counter this side effect. Other than poor oral hygiene and dry mouth and gum disease, some mouth odour may be linked to other medical conditions.

Dr. Adrian Heusner
“There are certain things like diabetes that causes a very distinct mouth odor, some people say its kinda sweet some people say it smells like alcohol but it varies. You can have peptic ulcers gastric ulcers so yes if you dentist can’t find something orally that’s causing the bad breath then It’s probably something systemic.”

The remedy. It’s all back to the basics. Brush, floss and rinse – and if you choose to: scrape.

Dr. Adrian Heusner
“First of all you need to brush three to four times a day that means using a soft toothbrush for at least two to three minutes. You want to make sure you get all your surfaces. Not just in there and haphazard around. Number two it’s important to use moth rinses such as Listerine that’s also anti bacterial. And don’t forget to floss. You need to floss; try brushing your teeth, using a rinse and then floss. You’d be surprised at some of the odor that comes out on the floss. If you have a tongue scrape you can use one. It works but you can also use a tooth brush. All your mints and breath strips they all help but if you stick to those three main brushing, flossing and using a mouth rinse you should be okay.”

Dr. Heusner stresses the importance of brushing the dorsum, the top surface of the tongue, and the roof of the mouth. The same care should be taken by persons who wear dentures. And what about the quick fixes? According to Dr. Heusner, some work and some don’t.

Dr. Adrian Heusner
“Chewing gum besides having ingredients to freshen your breath when you chew your gum it increases your saliva fluids so it kinda rinses the surfaces of the mouth. I always recommend it to people who smoke to people who drink a lot of coffee or tea. If you’re not able to brush your teeth then just chew some gum. It really helps. What a lot of people don’t know is that when you take a toothpick and you push it in between your teeth eventually it can cause spacing or it pushes down the gingival and it can create a space where more food can get trapped in. So a floss is far more helpful than a tooth pick. See you dentist get your regular checkups, try to live a very healthy lifestyle is your smile so you wanna make sure that’s in check.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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