A healthy smile can be a great asset.
Not only can it benefit you socially and help you in other things such as your careers and relationships, but it also has many more practical benefits.
Your teeth have such an important role to play in your life. They help you chew and digest food, they help you to talk and speak clearly and they also give your face its shape.
Because of this, it only makes sense to give your oral health the best care possible.
National Smile Month is a chance to take a look at oral health, learn more about why a healthy smile is so important and share tips on how to improve and maintain it.
The three key messages are the bread and butter principles for developing great oral health:
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
We at ProFresh would like to add another point about oral care. We feel that tongue cleaning is just as important as brushing your teeth. Why? Mucus and food debris can get stuck on the tongue and this provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. So get scraping! Find out more about tongue cleaning here.
These messages provide a good starting point for us but there’s so much more we can learn.
Let’s be honest, maintaining a general level of good oral health is a fairly simple task. It’s not time consuming or costly, yet many people still choose to ignore the most basic day-to-day hygiene routines.
A staggering number of people brush for less than two minutes, our diet as a nation has become over-reliant on added sugars while millions of people haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years.
The consequences of these over a long period of time, can lead to unnecessary, invasive and expensive treatment. There are direct oral health problems that can arise such as gum disease and tooth decay while the repercussions of poor oral health go further than our mouth.
An increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia, complications during pregnancy and male sexual health problems are just a few of the likely outcomes of not looking after our teeth.
Visit our Oral Health and Wellbeing page to learn more about the links between oral health and general health.
So there we have it. The benefits of developing and maintaining a healthy mouth are clear for all of us to see, as are the dangers of an unhealthy mouth. Following the basic rules and adopting a sensible daily routine should be high on all our agendas. By using National Smile Month as an opportunity to prioritise our oral health, we will soon see what a remarkably positive difference it makes to many aspects of our lives.
Dr. Gary Herskovits a Dentist in New York has said that what you drink has a huge influence on your breath. Here’s what he had to say;
Alcohol dries your mouth out which in turn allows more bacteria to form and to make your breath smell bad. Some alcoholic drinks have a strong smell which can linger in your mouth making the mouth odour smell even worse.
Alcohol – If it’s a social occasion and you can’t or don’t want to avoid a drink, then how about drinking a glass of water in-between your alcoholic drinks. This will stop your mouth drying out. Also carry a bottle of the ProFresh Quick Spray in your pocket or your handbag, this will kill those bacteria that cause bad breath.
Sugary drinks like fizzy drinks and energy drinks can also cause halitosis. Sugar not only causes tooth decay but it helps feed the bad breath bacteria in your mouth. Cutting down on sugary drinks will help your breath smell fresher.
If it’s squash you like drinking, simply water the juice down if you don’t want to cut it out completely. Even fruit juices you can add water to. Why not limit fizzy drinks to the weekend and when you do drink them drink water too to wash away the excess sugar. It’s best to cut sugary drinks out totally but we appreciate it’s not always easy.
Coffee can affect your breath in two ways. Firstly the caffeine dries your mouth out, which allows the bacteria to fester. Coffee also has a strong pungent smell which lingers in your mouth so combined with the drying effects, coffee isn’t the best thing to drink if you want sweet smelling breath. Don’t forget coffee (and tea!) stains your teeth too.
We always associate coffee breath with teachers! Remember at school after break or lunchtime the teachers would come back into the classroom with coffee breath! They needed the caffeine fix to get them through the rest of the day with those pesky kids! Which is worse – white coffee or black coffee? To make white coffee you need to add milk which adds another bad breath causing drink so you are getting a double whammy. Drink it black and it’s stronger smelling and your teeth will get stained very quickly. The solution? Why not try a light coloured herbal tea? Some herbal teas contain ingredients that help keep your breath fresh. We know it’s hard to kick the caffeine but how badly do you want to get rid of your bad breath? Maybe just have one a day and use mouthwash and brush your teeth afterwards.
Milk and dairy products are known to cause foul smelling breath. It’s caused by the leftover lactose in your breath being broken down by bacteria. This causes an excess amount of hydrogen sulphide in your mouth. What does hydrogen sulphide smell like? Rotten eggs. Not good.
After eating or drinking dairy most of us will get a sticky feeling in the mouth, dairy makes your mouth feel very gloopy and it can also trigger an increase in mucus production in those of us that are sensitive to dairy. With the gloop in your mouth and the mucus dripping onto the back of your tongue, it’s not a great combination. Again, if you can’t or don’t want to avoid dairy, simply have a glass of water or use ProFresh Mouthwash after consuming.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that’s found in the stomach of 40% of the population.
This infection is most commonly associated with stomach ulcers but it has also been linked to bad breath. A study from the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth found that getting rid of helicobacter pylori with antibiotics reduced halitosis dramatically in the people who had the bacteria and bad breath.
Helicobacter pylori produces sulphur compounds and ammonia that alter the smell of the breath. The way that the smell ends up in the mouth and breath is through acid reflux. If the reflux contains this bacteria this changes the smell of the breath. If you are suffering from heartburn, a hoarse voice or are regurgitating your food then ask your doctor to test for this bacteria.
Testing for H. Pylori Infection
If your Doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by this bacteria they may recommend one of the following tests:
- Urea Breath Test – you will be given a special drink and then your breath is analysed to see whether or not you have H. Pylori.
- Stool Antigen Test – a stool sample is taken and tested for the bacteria.
- Blood Test – A sample of your blood is tested for antibodies to the H. Pylori bacteria but this test is less popular now as the Stool Antigen Test is more commonly used.
What Happens If I test Positive for H. Pylori?
The infection will need to be cleared and the ulcer healed. If your stomach ulcer is caused by this bacteria then you will be given a course of antibiotics. To see if you have a stomach ulcer, you may be referred for a gastroscopy to look inside your stomach directly.
For more information please contact your GP.
Anything that dehydrates the mouth will increase the risk of bad breath as saliva helps wash away odour-causing bacteria or cells. That’s why mouth odour is worse in the morning because saliva flow has been reduced during the night. Bad breath is more common in those who breathe through the mouth too.
Talking a lot is another cause of bad breath, it exposes the mouth to air, drying out saliva. Those in professions that are more vocal such as teachers, lawyers and people working in call centres are prone to suffering from bad mouth odour.
There is a simple solution, you can just sip water throughout the day to keep the mouth moist. This provides more favourable conditions that will help slow down the growth of bad bacteria.
Saliva flow is reduced as we get older and bad breath often gets worse with age. Your doctor can prescribe you sprays or lozenges to help promote saliva flow.
Keeping the mouth moist with sipping water and using a mouthwash like ProFresh that kills bad bacteria can help anyone suffering from bad breath. We would recommend those in the above mentioned professions keep the ProFresh Quick Spray to hand during the day as well as a bottle of water to sip from.