August 6 was National Fresh Breath day, but are you doing everything to keep bad breath from interfering with your life?
A group of dentists based in New York created National Fresh Breath Day in 2010 to raise awareness for the importance of keeping your breath fresh to contribute to your overall health. Chronic bad breath can be a simple personal problem with an easy fix or a sign of serious illness, but either way, it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and social skills.
Bad breath is also known as halitosis, a term which was coined by Listerine in 1921. Bad breath had been around a lot longer than that, however, and records from as long ago as 1550 BC cite instances of bad breath. Back then, a mouthwash of wine and herbs was recommended to freshen breath.
Today, 25% of our population suffers from bad breath. 600 types of bacteria reside in the average mouth, and 50% of bacteria on the tongue contributes to bad breath. Two minutes of brushing every morning and evening can reduce your risk for halitosis by removing bacteria buildup, but there are many other ways to cut down on bad breath.
Mouthwashes and oral rinses are often just as effective in reducing bad breath as they claim to be, but avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes. By drying out your mouth, these mouthwashes can actually cause bad breath rather than reduce it. Oral hygiene products with sodium lauryl sulfate can have the same effect and should be avoided.
Certain medications can also increase dryness in the mouth by inhibiting saliva flow. These include diuretics, antidepressants, antihistamines and pain relievers. Obviously, these medications have their own benefits, but if you find yourself needing them less than you need your breath to be fresh, you might want to consider reducing your dosage. Consult your doctor first with more important medications.
Smoking can also cause dry mouth, and it also puts you at greater risk for periodontal disease.
Breathing through your nose, especially during sleep if possible, is a great way to reduce dry mouth. You can do this by address sleep apnea or snoring problems as well. Drinking plenty of water also helps, especially if you keep a glass by your bed.
Green and black teas are also great for bad breath sufferers. The polyphenols they contain cut down on sulfur compounds and fight oral bacteria. Oral probiotics can also help you restore the balance of bacteria in your mouth.
Use this day every year to reaffirm your commitment to fresh breath and a healthy mouth!