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The Irish News

Lucy Stock is a columnist for The Irish News
For more info visit www.irishnews.com

Mints Are Not The
Answer to Smelly Breath

by Lucy Stock BDS DipImpDent RCS (Eng)

Published in the Irish News . 02.04.2014

When it comes to social interactions bad breath can act like an invisible wrecking ball. This is a condition that affects millions of people; in fact between 35 and 45 percent of the people in the world have some level of halitosis or bad breath at some time. One common solution is to suck mints; unfortunately all that’s going to happen is that you will get tooth decay as well as the bad breath still being present. So what really works to banish this embarrassing affliction for good?

There are many different causes of bad breath. High-protein and low-carb diets, may shrink your waist but aren't great for your breath. Eating fewer than 100 grams of carbohydrates a day triggers a condition known as ketosis, a metabolic state that causes your body to burn fat instead of sugar and is notorious for causing bad breath. Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, sinusitis, tonsil or stomach problems among others may be the cause.

However, 90 percent of cases of chronic bad breath come from your mouth which can be predictably treated and eradicated long term. As your mouth bacteria break down food particles they release gases called Volatile Sulphur Compounds or VSCs. It’s these VSCs that are the culprit of the eggy smell that is exhaled out and originates from your tongue. A tongue scrapper, available from most chemists, can be used to clean the tongue and diminish the smell. Many of the mouthwashes on the market act like perfumes which just mask the smell. Two mouthwashes that stand out as being really effective at combating bad breath are Ultradex and CB12; these have active ingredients in them that neutralise VSCs.

If you think that you may have bad breath a trip to the dentist is a good idea. If you have any gum disease, decay, food traps or abscess draining into your mouth then these need to be addressed and your mouth returned to a state of health and freshness. Finally, brushing alone is not enough, the spaces between the teeth have to be kept clean. Dental woodsticks, tepee brushes or floss maximise breath freshness.

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