In addition to seeing your dentist dental hygienist regularly, learning how to improve your oral hygiene is another basic step you should not skip if you are serious about getting rid of your bad breath. Basic oral hygiene instructions are provided further down on this page.
Now, be aware that, in most chronic halitosis cases, improving oral hygiene will not completely eliminate bad breath, so it is not a halitosis treatment in itself.
Having said that, if you suffer from halitosis and you do not clean your mouth properly, you are feeding all those bacteria exactly what they want. Not cleaning your mouth adequately will make your oral malodours even stronger and more unpleasant.
In other words: if you do not brush (both teeth and tongue) and floss properly, the already higher than normal levels of bacteria in your mouth will be multiplying at an even higher rate, because of all that food debris you failed to remove properly after your meals. Yes, there is a difference between bad breath and bad breath that fills a whole room. So make sure you stick to just “mildly offensive” bad breath for now, by having excellent oral hygiene, until all the causes of your halitosis are identified and tackled individually.
By not caring enough or “not finding the time” to brush and floss properly after meals, you are basically saying: “I have bad breath and no matter what I do I will still have bad breath, so I may as well not bother….”. Unfortunately, this way of thinking will not help at all, so it is very important to get used to brushing and flossing after each meal to prevent the problem from getting even worse.
How to Cure Halitosis – Step by Step Guide
will help you identify the main causes of your chronic halitosis, and tackle each one at a time. Learning how to clean your mouth properly is a pretty basic and important step, together with seeing your dentist and dental hygienist, so make sure you do not skip either of them.
The reason it is extremely important for a halitosis sufferer to have good oral hygiene, is not because it will in itself eliminate bad breath, but because it will prevent it from getting worse while we try to figure out what the main causes of the halitosis problem are. In addition, once the main causes of your bad breath have been identified and tackled, having learnt to adhere to a good oral hygiene routine, will be an invaluable tool so that you can prevent halitosis flaring up again in the future. Hope that makes sense.
On the other hand, it is actually quite common to find halitosis sufferers who brush their teeth too much (too frequently and for too long, using the wrong type of toothbrush and technique), or who brush their teeth very well but fail to floss, or who use mouthwashes too often (and probably the wrong type of mouthwash as well!).
I did that for a long time: hopelessly brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush 5 to 8 times a day (for years!) and I never flossed nor brushed my tongue. In addition I never bothered to brush the other side of my teeth (palate side). And I was convinced my oral hygiene was “excellent”!
I literally brushed my gums away and after that, the upper part of some of my teeth and molars started showing some dents (the enamel was damaged and that exposed the dentine – which erodes away very quickly – creating what is called abrasions on the neck of some teeth). So if you have been brushing and flossing too much or too vigorously, please make sure you change that from now on. Brushing and flossing excessively will not only worsen the problem but it could also cause irreversible damage to your gums and teeth.
Ideally you should brush (teeth and tongue) and floss after each main meal (that is, 3 to 4 times a day). Doing it more than that can start to damage your gums, so it is important not to overdo it and to find a balance. Excessive brushing and /or using a brush with medium / hard bristles will eventually damage your gums. Gums cannot be re-grown – only gum grafts can potentially sort out the problem, and trust me, you don’t wan’t that (it is very painful and extremely expensive).
BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER EVERY MAIN MEAL and switch to A SOFT-HEADED TOOTHBRUSH. Seriously consider switching to a soft small-headed electric toothbrush
. Not only have electric toothbrushes been scientifically shown to be more effective at removing plaque, but they are great in terms of minimising damage to your gums while cleaning areas that are quite difficult to reach with a manual toothbrush. I personally use a Braun Oral-b Electric Toothbrush
LEARN HOW TO BRUSH PROPERLY: spend at least two minutes brushing, always brush in small round circles (never with up and down or horizontal strokes!), do it gently but firmly and remember to spend the same amount of time brushing the inside of your teeth as you do with the outside (that is, brush both the palate and the cheek sides of your teeth). Use a manual single tufted toothbrush to clean partially erupted wisdom teeth (ideally you should have them removed if they keep getting infected and always smell bad) or any other hard to reach areas at the back of your mouth.
START USING A TONGUE BRUSH (TONGUE SCRAPER) after every meal. It is a well known fact that a high percentage of bacteria which cause bad breath are actually located on the tongue surface, inside its grooves, and normally you will find a larger accumulation at the back of the tongue. Usually this can be seen as a thick white or yellow coating on the tongue. This needs to be removed or bad breath will never be completely eliminated. For information on how to use a tongue brush and a review of my favourite brand, click here: OraBrush tongue Brush Review.
FLOSS YOUR TEETH after every meal, immediately after brushing your teeth and tongue. It is better to use a floss that is not too slippery (think cotton threat rather than satin smooth threat) so that it removes plaque and debris more effectively. My favourite brand is Johnson & Johnson Reach Gum Care Floss, but they are discontinuing them (they are a few still available on Ebay at the moment, with a very nice discount, but not sure for how long!). If you are not sure what brand of floss to use, just try a few different brands for a while until you find one that you like.
Flossing Tip: to floss properly, do NOT think of flossing as a way of removing food debris stuck between your teeth (although this is one of its functions), but rather, imagine you are using your dental floss to “file” the side edges of your teeth and molars. Imagine you are using a dental floss threat that is made of a sandpaper-like material, so you are actually trying to sand the side surface of your teeth down (while pulling the floss down between the gum and the tooh, you actually have to press a bit towards the tooth or molar, back and forwards, as if you were sanding it down, once for each side. Does that make sense?). I find that imagining this helps me to floss properly!
START USING AN ORAL IRRIGATOR
once a day (totally recommended if your budget allows – I could not live without this gadget now!). Oral irrigation systems
use a high pressure jet of water to reach areas between teeth and molars, as well as under the gum line. These areas are extremely difficult or impossible to reach by brushing and flossing alone. Pulsating oral irrigators
are now recommended by many professional periodontists, especially indicated for patients who suffer from gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) and / or for halitosis sufferers.
I hope this page has been helpful and that you can now see why you need to always stick to a balanced oral hygiene regime (neither too much nor too little!). I have provided these oral hygiene instructions as a guide and, as mentioned above, they are not a halitosis treatment on their own. You will need to follow all the steps recommended in this guide
so that you can identify and treat all the factors that are causing your halitosis.
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