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Halitosis—otherwise known as “bad breath”—is noticeable, embarrassing, and unpleasant. The Chicago Dental Society surveyed more than 400 of its members to gather helpful tips on eliminating pesky oral odors.
The survey was conducted for the Chicago Dental Society's 141st annual Midwinter Meeting, which will bring more than 30,000 dental professionals to Chicago this February.
1. Brush and scrape your tongue. Your tongue is the main source of odor-causing bacteria: Deep within its crevices is a protective layer of mucous, food particles and proteins. Cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper or brush can remove this layer and much of the bacteria that reside on your tongue. Remember to be gentle and not gag yourself.
2. Rinse with a mouthwash. Some conventional mouthwashes may dry out the mouth. Instead look for an alcohol-free brand. Gargling salt water can also help neutralize odors.
3. Floss! Removing excess food debris from in between your teeth eliminates particle build-up and bacteria development.
4. Brush your teeth. A given, but just a friendly reminder.
5. Visit your dentist for a complete exam. Bad breath may be a sign of a bacterial infection or periodontal disease, so have your dentist take a look.
6. Watch what you eat. Potent foods, especially garlic, onions, and some spicy foods can contribute to oral odors. Some dentists recommend eating yogurt to balance levels of hydrogen sulphide—a major cause of bad breath
7. Examine your whole body. Bad breath may be stemming from elsewhere—from your sinus/respiratory system, tonsils, or digestive system. Visit your physician for a check-up.
8. Quit smoking! Tar and nicotine build up on mouth surfaces such as teeth, tongue and sides of cheeks. Smoking also dries the mouth and can exacerbate gum disease and sinus conditions. It's best to put the cigarettes down!
9. Pop in a piece of gum, candy, or mint. A short-term solution, but the potent scents can mask bad odors. Always remember to consume sugar-free treats to limit the risk of tooth decay.
10. Drink lots of water. Hydrating yourself with lots of water is a good way to stimulate saliva flow and wash away left-over food particles. And moistening the mouth makes it less hospitable to odor causing bacteria.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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