Three Common Oral Hygiene Habits And Why They Aren't Improving Your Bad Breath

About one in two Americans report having bad breath! If you think you have a positive oral health regimen but still cannot get rid of your bad breath, you just might be going about it the wrong way. Here are three common mistakes that people make that actually worsens, instead of freshens, bad breath.

Chewing Gum

You might think that chewing gum is synonymous with fresher breath, but more often than not, this is not the case. Chewing gum is no substitute for good oral hygiene habits like regular brushing and flossing.

So, why is chewing gum so bad for your breath? Even though it can temporarily mask odors after a particularly pungent business lunch, it can worsen your breath in the long run. Chewing gum comes in a variety of flavors, most of which are derived from sugars. As a matter of fact, the average chewing gum stick contains almost two grams of sugar! If you chew more than one piece every day, you are constantly supporting the growth of bacteria biofilms in your mouth that, if left unattended, can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. These dental disorders can exacerbate already-existing bad breath.

Excessive Mouthwash Use

If you use mouthwash in your oral health regimen, you are successfully removing bacteria and plaque from areas that you cannot reach by brushing or flossing. Mouthwash has very real oral health benefits, no doubt; by swishing for one minute every day, you can significantly cut down your risk of developing gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

If you over-use mouthwash, however, you might be worsening your bad breath. How could this be? First, many mouthwashes contain up to 26% alcohol, which can irritate your gum and mouth tissues, along with any existing sores you might have. Some research suggests that alcohol-based mouthwashes also increase your chance of developing mouth cancers; however, unless you already have poor oral health, mouthwash is unlikely to instigate oral cancers.

Second, mouthwash removes your "mucous shield" along with dangerous bacteria. Your mucous shield is a moist protective layer covering your sensitive gum and mouth tissues. When you over-use mouthwash, you constantly flush away this mucous shield and leave your mouth dry and gums exposed to surviving bacteria cultures.

As a result, misusing your mouthwash can have a negative effect on your breath.

Smokeless Tobacco

Smoking has a well-known negative effect on your oral health and breath. As the old adage goes, no one wants to kiss an ashtray! 

Smokeless tobacco products, like cigarettes, contain cancer-causing tobacco and addictive nicotine. So the health benefits that you think you are gaining from losing the butt are not as monumental as you might think. Smokeless tobacco also stains your teeth and increases your risk of gum disease, so not only are you taking no steps in your attempt to better your breath, but your ruining the appearance of your teeth at least as fast as if you still smoked.

Smokeless tobacco also recedes your gums, which exposes your teeth and puts you at risk of tooth loss. It also causes irritating sores called leukoplakia, which can cause bad breath and eventually lead to mouth cancer.

Right Ways to Improve Your Bad Breath

You can make a few minor adjustments and accomplish major bad breath improvements. If you want to chew gum, opt for a variety that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute that might even prevent tooth decay. Limit your mouthwash use to once a day, and opt for alcohol-free or organic options. Finally, if you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, seek out a quitting plan that is right for you. Not only will your mouth and breath benefit from quitting, but also your overall health.

For more information, contact a business such as Avon Dental Care.