Can Bad-Breath Fighting Toothpaste Help You Kick Halitosis
Do you suffer from halitosis (bad breath?) Everyone may occasionally experience sour breath, but chronic halitosis can cause social embarrassment, personal issues with family or partners and even be a sign of an underlying severe illness. Some people think “upgrading” their toothpaste can help – but what can over-the-counter “bad-breath-fighting” toothpastes really do?
Let’s take a quick look at what causes halitosis.
Causes of Halitosis
Bad breath can be caused by one or more of the following:
- Bad habits. Poor oral hygiene can result in decaying food remaining in the mouth. Failure to thoroughly brush the teeth, gums and tongue and floss daily can lead to periodontal problems or cavities, which can also harbor odor producing bacteria.
- Food choices. Eating spicy or highly odorous foods can linger in the actual tissues of the body or in the bloodstream. Bad breath caused by spicy food will resolve on its own.
- Dry mouth. Lack of saliva means your teeth and gums are not being constantly cleansed, and bacteria levels rise. There are several medical conditions which can cause this, as well as some types of medications.
- Smoking. Tobacco users often have chronic bad breath. Tobacco reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth and is a leading factor in the development of gum inflammation and periodontal disease.
- Sinus drainage due to infections or allergies. Mucous can build up in the back of the nose and throat, providing a breeding place for bacteria that is beyond the reach of a toothbrush.
- Infection or disease. Rarely a severe medical condition can cause chronic halitosis – possible culprits include but are not limited to diabetes, lung infections, kidney / liver disease, or cancer.
Of the causes listed, the only one that can be combated by tooth brushing is bacteria in the mouth – and getting rid of bacteria is accomplished more by the actual acts of brushing, flossing and rinsing than by the type of toothpaste used. The special bad-breath-fighting toothpaste ingredients are usually created by simply adding a heavier dose of flavoring, creating a “fresh” odor that temporarily masks the halitosis.
Is There any Benefit to Bad-Breath-Fighting Toothpaste?
Using a bad-breath-fighting toothpaste can be a solution for temporary or occasional bad breath, but in most cases it just covers up odors caused by bacteria (or another type of underlying condition). According to Long Island periodontist David R. Scharf, DMD, “Thorough cleaning of the tongue, proper oral hygiene and regular cleanings and checkups are far more important for fighting halitosis.”
Bottom line: Proper dental care and personal oral hygiene are always going to be more effective at fighting bad breath than what type of toothpaste you buy. When it comes down to it, your choice of toothpaste is secondary to learning how to brush and floss properly, and getting bacteria off of your tongue is always the first step towards fresh breath!