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Getting to the Root of a Bad Breath Problem

Aug 17, 2007
Poor dental hygiene is often a major factor for the cause of bad breath or Halitosis. Yes, you've heard it before, brush and floss after every meal and make regular trips to your dentist for cleaning and exams.

But, how many of us actually follow this strict regimen. Not enough, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). They report that periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.

Periodontal disease actually takes place in two different stages. Gingivitis is the first stage and only affects the gums. Gingivitis IS reversible if caught before it moves into the second stage called periodontitis. Periodontal disease is irreversible, causing tooth loss and potential permanent bone damage.

Many of the same causes of bad breath apply to the risk factors for periodontal disease such as tobacco and certain drugs. But there are other factors for periodontal disease which can also manifest as bad breath.

Some of these additional risk factors are:
- Ill fitting dentures or bridges
- Teeth that are crooked
- Old fillings that no longer fit their cavity
- Pregnancy

The symptoms of encroaching periodontal disease also closely mimic some of the same symptoms of bad breath, with bad breath actually becoming symptomatic with periodontal disease.

Some of these are:
- Bleeding gums
- Teeth that are loose
- Gums that are swollen and tender
- Changes in the bite
- Gums that are receding away from the teeth
- Changes in prosthetic dentures

Periodontal disease is nothing more than plaque. While it may sound harmless, quite the opposite is true. The buildup of this plaque also causes bad breath. Get rid of the plaque and you will eliminate the bad breath and get the benefits of healthy gums.

Plaque is the carrier for the sulfur producing bacteria that are in your mouth. It creates a sticky film that is always present in your mouth. When you eat and drink you add to the buildup of plaque.

Plaque is a pesky creature that is also a bit shy. He likes to burrow in and hide just beneath the gum line where he develops a breeding ground for more of his bacterial friends. You can smell them, but it can be difficult to even know that plaque is hiding away and doing its damage.

This is why regular brushing and flossing is so important. You need to ferret out the problem and deal with it. It's an ongoing process and you'll NEVER be rid of it as long as you like to eat, drink and oh yes, live! You must brush at least twice a day to remove all traces of bits of food and plaque. Don't forget to brush the gums as well!

Yes, you should brush after every meal, but if it isn't possible and you don't wish to brush after having a meal out at a restaurant, excuse yourself, visit the restroom and at least rinse your mouth well. This practice will go a long way toward healthy gums as well as reducing bad breath resulting from the bacteria remaining in the small bits of food.

You must floss every day taking care to reach every hidden scrap between the teeth.

Brush your tongue daily. Ugh! A nasty tongue has to be one of the worse offenders for bad breath. Did you know that the ancient Romans brushed their tongues daily? Amazing, isn't it, how some practices come full circle.

Using your soft bristled brush, brush the tongue gently, taking care not to gag yourself. Do try and reach as far back as comfortable to remove as much of the offending buildup as you can. It's in that region toward the back of the tongue that produces the majority of the bad breath.

By following good dental practices you can virtually eliminate all bad breath and prevent much more serious problems in the future. If you haven't had been very good about brushing in the past you should know that it is never too late to start and minimize your risk starting from today.
About the Author
Anthony Stai is a proud contributing author and writes articles on several dental related topics including Halitosis. You can see more of Anthony's articles at Dental Information 4 You - an informational web site located at http://dental.healthinformation4you.com
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