Poor oral hygiene is the most important cause of bad breath. So, it is very important to maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent halitosis. It requires following things:
Brushing – Most important measure for controlling bad breath is proper brushing of teeth twice daily after breakfast and before going to bed. A toothbrush with soft bristles and small head should be chosen which could reach most posterior areas of oral cavity.
Method of brushing should be correct while brushing teeth. For proper brushing of teeth brush should be placed at an angle of 45° to the gingival surface of teeth and should be rolled downwards. All the surfaces of all the teeth in both the arches should be brushed thoroughly.
Flossing - Flossing of the teeth is also very important for stopping bad breath. It should be done once in a week to remove interdental plaque and food deposits. It should be done with proper technique otherwise unnecessary damage can occur to gingiva.
Mouth Washes – Mouth washes also help to great extent in stopping the bad breath. Mouthwashes containing agents that destroy microbes and/or neutralize VSCs can be used. Chlorine dioxide and its parent compound sodium chlorite have two fold action:
They release oxygen leading to destruction of anaerobic micro- organisms
They destroy volatile sulphur compounds as well as their precursors
Mouthwashes containing zinc and cetylperidium act as antibacterial and thus destroy bacteria which produce foul smelling substances. Mouthwash should be used after thoroughly brushing and flossing the teeth i.e. after plaque removal because mouthwash cannot penetrate plaque. Mouthwash should be gargled and then spit out. This brings back portion of tongue in contact with mouthwash where most of the bacteria are present.
Tongue cleaning is also very important for stopping bad breath. Tongue should be cleaned properly especially back portion of the tongue using toothbrush or a tongue scraper. It is better to use a tongue scraper/cleaner as toothbrush may cause irritation.
Scaling and Polishing – Scaling and polishing of teeth from a dentist should be got done after every six months or as recommended by the dentist for removal of calcified deposits on the teeth.
Cleaning Dentures and Orthodontic Appliances - If patient wears removable dentures or orthodontic appliances, they should be cleaned properly after every meal to minimize food accumulation and plaque formation. Dentures should be removed at night and be kept in an antiseptic solution.
Drinking Water – People with bad breath should drink 7-8 glasses of water to maintain adequate hydration and prevent dryness of mouth.
Diet – Diet also play important role in bad breath. Volatile Sulphur Compounds (VSCs) are mostly the waste products of proteins. So, bad breath is more common after eating protein rich food such as meat, fish and milk products. Thus it is more important to maintain proper oral hygiene after consuming protein rich diet.
Chewing Gums - Chewing sugar free gum to stimulate secretion of saliva in patients suffering from Xerostomia may reduce dryness of mouth and hence reduces halitosis.
Last but not the least, medical evaluation of any systemic condition causing halitosis should be done and proper treatment should be done to cure it.
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