If you’ve ever worried that your breath may smell unpleasant, you were probably right. According to experts, almost everyone experiences bad breath at some point. And, although halitosis is rarely a serious medical issue, it can seriously affect your confidence. Bad breath has even been linked to social anxiety and depression.
We asked the Oral Hygienists Association of South Africa (OHASA) to share their top tips to prevent bad breath and this is what they had to say.
Oral-hygienist approved fixes to give you fresh breath confidence:
The key to beating bad breath is removing bacteria and food debris from your mouth. If not removed, these will decay, releasing foul odours in the process. Brushing for a full two minutes will remove about half the plaque on your teeth and gums. So whilst brushing twice a day is important, on its own, brushing is not enough to prevent oral malodour.
As your toothbrush can’t reach right between the teeth, daily interdental cleaning is necessary to remove any plaque or food debris trapped there. According to OHASA, only about a third of South Africans clean in-between daily and about 40% of them are not doing it correctly. No wonder an estimated half of our population has bad breath at any one time.
Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor, and OHASA member, says there’s no excuse not to clean in-between as there is a multitude of tools available to make it a simple process. “If you don’t like flossing, try picks (like the award-winning rubber GUM Soft-Picks) or an oral irrigator. Tiny interdental brushes, such as the GUM Bi-Direction which has a unique, bendable head so you can even reach between teeth at the far back of the mouth, make excellent options for anyone with orthodontic braces, implants or gaps between the teeth.”
Don’t forget your tongue. Stella Lamprecht, OHASA’s immediate past president recommends gentle scraping every day. “The tongue’s surface has tiny grooves where bacteria and plaque can accumulate. If you do it before bed, it can help prevent morning breath.”
Using mouthwash as a final step can give added fresh-breath confidence. Use saltwater or an alcohol-free rinse like Dentyl Dual Action or Sunstar GUM Original White. Alternatively, chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and naturally ‘rinse’ the mouth.
For good measure, Lamprecht recommends a regular professional ‘deep’ clean. “When an oral hygienist scales and polishes the teeth, they eliminate plaque and tartar build-up that you are unable to remove yourself with usual brushing and flossing.”
5 oral hygienist-approved fixes to beat bad breath:
- Brush correctly twice a day for two minutes each time.
- Clean between the teeth every day with floss, interdental picks, an interproximal brush or an oral irrigator, whichever tool suits you best.
- Gently scrape the tongue each day to remove plaque and food debris from its surface.
- Rinse with saltwater, alcohol-free mouthwash, or chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow.
- See your oral hygienist for a professional clean, ideally twice a year or more frequently.
For more oral care news and expert advice visit the Ivohealth blog www.ivohealth.co.za.