Plagued By Bad Breath?

Chances are your tongue is the culprit.

It’s probably not your diet, teeth or gums that’s causing your bad breath. Most likely, it’s your tongue. And the solution may be as simple as adding a daily tongue cleaning to your regular brushing and flossing routine.

Depending on who’s counting, 25 million to 85 million Americans have halitosis, an unpleasant, even repugnant odor emanating from their mouths that may cause others to recoil upon close contact or to stand at a distance during conversations.

“Dragon mouth,” or the fear of it, has Americans spending about $1 billion a year on mouthwashes, breath mints, sprays, drops, gums and other products that they hope will mask an obnoxious mouth odor. But experts say that most of these expenditures are a waste, at best reducing bad breath for an hour. Recent studies suggest that even treating periodontal disease is unlikely to solve the problem in otherwise healthy people who have chronically bad breath, according to an article published in the Health section of the New York Times.

Possible Causes

Everything from the foods people eat to the diseases they have can cause bad breath. Use of tobacco products commonly results in lingering mouth odor. But most cases of bad breath are temporary. After a person dines on garlic or raw onion, for example, volatile oils from these foods get into the blood and are exhaled through the lungs. And nearly everyone has unpleasant breath upon awakening in the morning. Other transient causes include a cold, sinus or bronchial infection, a respiratory allergy or use of a medication (for example, an antihistamine or decongestant) that dries the mouth.

If the problem is persistent, one would be wise to check out some possible underlying causes. A small percentage of cases have a medical cause, like diabetes, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, postnasal drip, a liver or kidney ailment, emphysema or Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes dry mouth, according to the Times article.

Contrary to common belief, bad mouth odors do not originate in the stomach and are not caused by indigestion. A rotten or abscessed tooth can result in noxious mouth odors. But while advanced periodontal disease can contribute to bad breath, more typical degrees of gum disease are an unlikely cause, according to studies in Toronto and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Dr. Erika H. De Boever at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry conducted a detailed study that zeroed in on the overriding importance of the tongue in chronic halitosis that afflicts otherwise healthy people. The tongues of some people become coated with bacteria that ferment proteins, producing smelly gases like hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor), methylmercaptan, fatty acids and ammonia. Other people have what dentists call a “geographic tongue” with fissures and indentations that resemble a coastline. Anaerobic bacteria lodge in these crevices, where they ferment proteins and give off noxious odors, according to Dr. De Boever.

Treating Halitosis

Dr. De Boever showed that daily tongue cleansing can virtually eliminate the problem in healthy people who have suffered with embarrassing halitosis for years despite careful oral hygiene, regular periodontal care and the routine use of breath fresheners. In the study the 16 patients, who ranged in age from 14 to 71, were taught how to scrape their tongues — reaching as far back as possible — and were given a prescription antibacterial rinse, chlorhexidine gluconate, to use daily for a week. Their mouth odor disappeared along with the bacteria that were living on their tongues.

An alternative agent is sodium chlorite, a powerful germicide that is used in water purification. Dr. John Richter, a periodontist in private practice in Philadelphia who has treated more than 5,000 patients with halitosis, said sodium chlorite had a triple-action effect in combating bad breath: it is a deodorant, it kills odor-causing bacteria and it reduces the amount of protein available for bacteria to ferment.

Sodium chlorite is available as part of Oxyfresh’s Dental Success System. Oxyfresh uses its own exclusive proprietary form of sodium chlorite called Oxygene®. Oxygene® literally dissolves odor-causing microorganisms by attacking volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), neutralizing their odorous by-products and the harmful effect they have in the mouth. Oxygene® is formulated into Oxyfresh mouthrinses, toothpastes and dental gels.

“Sodium chlorite products, including Oxyfresh, can be obtained through dentists and are very effective,” Richter says.

Dr. Richard H. Price, a dentist affiliated with the Boston University Dental School, said daily tongue cleansing and the use of sodium chlorite product had enabled him to solve his own breath problem. He explained: “To be effective, you must scrape the very back of the tongue, which makes many people gag. But after a while you get used to it and you no longer gag.”

Tongue Cleaning and Oxygene®: A Powerful one-two punch against bad breath

Oolitt® Tongue Cleaner: This tongue cleaner is clinically proven to be the #1 brand in the dental market. A patented, ripple edge has been carefully designed to ensure maximum comfort and function. The Oolitt® is convenient, safe, effective and easy to use. Ideal for anyone who wants a healthy clean mouth and longer lasting fresh breath.

Oolitt® Elite Tongue Cleaner: This tongue cleaner is uniquely designed, to provide dual-action and double the effectiveness over other tongue cleaners. Its patented design has been rated by Clinical Research Associates (CRA) as one of the most favorable cleaners in the dental industry! Ideal for those with less dexterity and those who prefer the convenience of one-handed use.

Oxyfresh Mouthrinses and Toothpastes with Oxygene®

Oxyfresh Mouthrinses and Toothpastes contain the exclusive proprietary ingredient Oxygene®, which safely and completely destroys odors at their source. Oxygene® literally dissolves odor-causing microorganisms by attacking volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), neutralizing their odorous by-products and the harmful effect they have in the mouth. Research has demonstrated a strong association between halitosis and periodontal disease due to the presence and damage caused by VSCs. By wiping out VSCs, you can count on longer lasting fresh breath protection and a healthier mouth.