Bad Breath

Good oral hygiene includes regular cleaning of your teeth, tongue and gums. Have you noticed that even after brushing and flossing, soon after, your breath starts to smell? It’s actually quite common, and the solution is easier than you think – keep your mouth moist. Many of us just don’t drink enough water. Sure, we drink coffee, tea, and sugar-laden drinks – but these are actually the “stinkers”. Just note it next time you take a drink, swish water to rinse and maintain your oral hygiene – that should help your bad breath.

The goal of oral hygiene is to remove bacteria. Bacteria thrives on the sugar and carbohydrates from the foods we eat. Bacteria will also secrete acid that softens our enamel. Brushing our teeth, gums and tongue helps to remove bacteria build up, but we need to do it regularly – every 12 hours. Flossing gets to places between the teeth that your brush cannot. You literally need to rub off the bacteria that collects all over the surfaces of your teeth and mouth. Do this regularly, yes it’s a chore, but quite doable. Follow with regular flushing by drinking water, and chewing to keep things off your teeth.

Wait longer between cleaning, and bacteria will produce a film on the teeth that hardens to form plaque. That film, you know the feeling – fuzzy teeth. You can brush those fuzzy teeth, but the gumline is a difficult area to keep clean. Brushing with a soft brush, starting with a vibration at the gumline and swiping to the tips of the teeth is the best technique to keep plaque build up at bay. Eventually plaque will form at the gumline, so regular visits to the dentist are required to remove it.

What about the choices of toothpastes? What works? Ingredients to address plaque do actually work, but did you know it only works on clean (no plaque present) teeth? Teeth desensitizers also do work, so if you do have thinning enamel and are sensitive to cold or hot foods, this is a great additive for you. Teeth whiteners are for cosmetic use, but note, our enamel does thin over time, especially if you expose them to acidic foods, and a thin enamel just can’t hide the yellow of our teeth. You can slow down enamel thinning by drinking water regularly, especially if eating acidic foods, brushing your teeth with fluoride or drinking fluoridated water and making sure you have enough calcium in your diet.

There are so many choices for oral hygiene, your PharmaChoice pharmacist can explain how product ingredients work and help choose the product best suited for you.

So you have proper oral hygiene, but still have bad breath? A dry mouth is the companion to bad breath. Many medications may cause dry mouth, including drugs to treat depression, high blood pressure, pain and allergies. Dry mouth can also be associated with certain conditions, damage to the mouth, or radiation treatment. Your pharmacist can help with prevention or treatment of dry mouth. Treatments at the pharmacy include gels, pastes, sprays, gum, tablets and lozenges.

Bad breath can also be caused by what you eat, smoke, or drink. It can also be due to dental appliances. You will also have bad breath when you have sinus or oral infections. However, it may also be a signal requiring serious attention. Bad breath can be a warning sign for diseases, illnesses and conditions such as diabetes, liver, kidney and gastrointestinal issues. Don’t delay getting help. You may have to seek the aid of several healthcare professionals to rule things out and find the cause – start discussions with your pharmacist.

Your PharmaChoice pharmacist will help determine if you should see your dentist, physician or other health professional.

Colette Stan
Wakaw, SK