The key to fighting bad breath

Do you take good care of your teeth, but still find yourself battling bad breath?  Simply brushing and flossing might not be enough to rid the inside of your mouth of halitosis (the technical term for bad breath).  Fortunately, most cases of bad breath stem from a patients belief that their breath is bad.  We only consider a case genuine when that bad breath is actually detectable by others.  In those rare cases of genuine halitosis, patients can exhibit symptoms of depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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If you are already flossing once a day and brushing twice, but still have bad breath (whether others can smell it or not), you need to incorporate a good tongue cleaning into your daily routine.  Using a small dab of toothpaste on your brush, start at the back of your tongue and work your way forward.  Brush from side-to-side, and take your time so you do not trigger your gag reflex.  When you first feel the twinge of that reflex, DO NOT brush any further back.  Instead, focus on brushing that one specific area for a few seconds every day, and over time you will be able to clean your tongue without gagging.  You can also opt for a tongue scraper, which will reach further back along your tongue, without making you gag. 

The thin layer of mucus covering our tongues makes it easy for food particles and other bacteria to get trapped, which leads to bad breath.  Like brushing your teeth, you need to clean your tongue twice a day to remove that bacteria.  Just image how much of it builds up over the course of a day!  When you are done cleaning, wash off your brush or tongue scraper and rinse your mouth out.  Products like Listerine dehydrate your mouth, making it a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause bad breath, so it is best to rinse with water. 

Around 85% of cases of bad breath originate inside the mouth, but halitosis can also stem from disorders in the nose, throat, lungs, or stomach.  If brushing your tongue twice a day has not helped improve your breath, the root of the problem may lie elsewhere.  Make an appointment with your doctor to be sure, as bad breath may even be the result of liver failure or ketoacidosis.