Ask the Dentist: Don't let bad breath stop you kissing with confidence
Dentist Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care in Belfast says bad breath can keep you from fulfilling your kissing potential
PUCKER up, Buttercup? Or maybe you are one of the 45 per cent of people in the world who suffer from the embarrassing condition of bad breath and would rather clamp shut than have a smooch this Valentine's Day.
Bad breath has its fair share of misconceptions. Sorry to burst your bubble but coffee doesn't give bad breath; it's actually the reverse, it contains compounds that stop the bad-breath bacteria growing. Chewing gum and mints are just masking agents – they don’t cure bad breath. In fact the sugars in these compounds actually serve as a food source for the bacteria. T
here’s also no need to reach for parsley because when parsley was studied, no evidence was found to support the idea of it being beneficial.
Most offending breath smells are caused by mouth bacteria waste products called volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs). The sulphur-emitting bugs are found in the spaces around teeth and on the back of the tongue. Anything that dries out the mouth like alcohol and certain medications make breath worse. Morning breath is a particular problem as saliva has reduced during sleep, drying out the mouth.
Some people suffer from a condition known as Halitophobia and they mistakenly believe that they have bad breath. This condition leads a person to excessively clean their mouth. Very extreme cases can lead to depression stemming from these chronic fears. There are bad breath devices which measure VSCs to see if there really is a problem and they give a baseline to compare with after any treatments.
The more bad breath bacteria build up in the mouth then the worse the pong. Research has shown that VSCs are 200 per cent higher in patients with chronic gum disease. So professional treatments at the dentist to treat gum disease are central to freshen breath.
Daily effective home care including cleaning between the teeth and tongue scraping also help. Toothbrushing alone is not enough. Try dental woodsticks, water flossers, flossettes or teepees to clean between the teeth. Studies show that mouthwashes like CB12, Listerine, Dentyl pH and the essential oil mouthwashes do work. Ultradex products are also very effective and they are alcohol, SLS and gluten free.
If you still have bad breath after treating your mouth then it could be due to an underlying medical problem such as hormone imbalances, diabetes, nasal or stomach problems.