How to beat bad breath

Bad breath giving you nightmares? Take a look at your oral hygiene habits; according to dental experts 90% of bad breath originates in the mouth.

Bad BreathCleaning in-between teeth is essential for healthy gums and fresh breath yet about two-thirds of South Africans do not floss regularly. This leaves plaque and food debris between the teeth and under the gum line, where it can break down, releasing bad odours as well as causing irritation and disease.

IVOhealth’s oral hygiene expert Dirna Grobbelaar says that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work, “Everyone’s mouth is unique, with different size gaps between teeth.”

Grobbelaar recommends interdental brushes, like tiny bottle brushes, that can actually remove more plaque than floss, from between teeth. “Look for the Sunstar GUM range available at dentists, Dis-Chem and pharmacies. There are also tiny rubber toothpicks that work really well.”

Some people struggle to reach between all the teeth with floss. Grobbelaar says “Use a floss brush with a handle, it is easy to use even with one hand.”

High-tech interdental options include the Philips Sonicare AirFloss which directs microburst jets of air and water at 72km/h to clean between the teeth. “Water flossers, such as the Panasonic Oral Irrigator, are ideal for cleaning around braces, implants or under bridges.”

“Brushing correctly twice a day and cleaning the back of the tongue with a tongue scraper, as well as daily interdental flossing is the key to the fresh breath confidence that comes from a super-clean mouth,” says Grobbelaar.

However, a build-up cannot be removed at home. “See your oral hygienist twice a year to get the teeth hygienically clean. If not removed calculus will cause gum disease and if untreated it becomes periodontitis. Once you have periodontal pockets your breath will smell unpleasant most of the time.”

If you are in doubt about the importance of interdental cleaning for fresh breath, take the test – pull a length of floss between the teeth and smell it!

For more advice on caring for your oral health speak to a dental professional or join the IVOhealth community on Facebook.

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