Tips for Keeping Good Breath

dental hygiene

Bad breath. No one wants to admit they have it. No one wants to tell you about it. Even professionals in Dental Hygiene shy away from mentioning it. The fact that there is a billion-dollar oral health care product industry in the U.S. dedicated to combating the problem identifies the size of the problem.

But we want our Concorde students and graduates all to enjoy the benefits of clean, fresh breath. And there are some simple things to know and do that are effective in fighting bad breath and maintaining good Dental Hygiene and good breath.

We enlisted the help of a couple of our Dental Hygiene Program Directors to explain why most of us suffer from halitosis and what we can do to keep our breath fresh.

Causes of bad breath

There are a variety of things that cause bad breath, according to Laurel Sampson, Dental Hygiene Program Director at Concorde's campus in San Diego. These include systemic factors such as disease processes or the ingestion of odiferous foods. However, these account for only 10 percent of oral malodor, Sampson said. The other 90 percent originates in the oral cavity.

"Bad breath is most commonly due to the anaerobic bacteria that inhabit our gum tissue, tonsils and most important, our tongues," Sampson said. "In fact, our tongues are the ideal environment for entrapping all kinds of debris that these nasty bugs like to call dinner. When they digest them, the bacteria produce stinky stuff called ‘volatile sulfur compounds,' or VSCs. Voila, bad breath is born!"

So, what can we do about this problem? Sampson said many people attempt to deal with bad breath by brushing their teeth or using mouthwash. But that only takes care of part of the problem. The biggest culprit, the tongue, goes unnoticed in cleaning efforts.

"Some people do try and address this by brushing their tongues," she said, "but with the addition of one simple device to our daily oral care routine, we can be truly effective in chasing the stinky bugs away. That device is called a tongue scraper, and a recent study showed that using one can decrease the VSCs by 75 percent."

"So, if you really want to have sweet breath, go to your local pharmacy and pick one up and use it every day. You'll be amazed at the results!"

More tips for good Dental Hygiene and good breath

Sabrina Santucho, Dental Hygiene Program Director for Concorde's campus in San Bernardino, Calif., listed nine causes/cures for bad breath.

  1. Bacteria lurking between teeth and covering tongue. Brush twice a day and floss once a day. Use a tongue scraper. Floss before bed to prevent morning breath.
  2. Tonsil stones collect bacteria. Use a water flosser to flush out debris. Gargle with warm salt water to clear the bacteria. See your physician if you have tonsillitis.
  3. Acid reflux or ulcer. Use acid blockers.
  4. Onions and garlic. Brush, floss and rinse. Limit amount of garlic and onion intake.
  5. Sinus infection. Treat congestion and see your physician.
  6. Dry mouth. Drink water and stay hydrated.
  7. Have your teeth cleaned every six months.
  8. Tobacco, cigars. Stop using tobacco products.
  9. Chronic bronchitis, diabetes, kidney or liver disease. See your physician.
Dental hygiene

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