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Happy Friends

Question: “My husband has persistent bad breath no matter what he does. Are there any products or procedures that you would recommend to take care of this problem?”

Answer: Your husband is most certainly not alone because bad breath is a problem for many people. Bad breath is usually caused by VSC’s, or volatile sulfur compounds. These odiferous compounds are a result of the breakdown (by bacteria) of many sulfur-containing foods. Dietary modifications can improve this condition, as can drinking more water.

Young girl wearing spectacles and smiling

Maintaining exceptional oral hygiene is probably the most effective way to control bad breath. This begins with thorough brushing after every meal, flossing at least once per day, and regular dental visits. Unfortunately, this is where most people stop. Most bacteria and its byproducts reside on the tongue. This makes a thorough cleaning of the tongue extremely important, too.

Many “over-the-counter” breath control products can actually make the situation worse due to the fact that they contain alcohol which increases the acidity of saliva. This increased acidity can stimulate more VSC production and exacerbate an existing problem. Most mouthwashes and mints simply mask the odor temporarily.

Therefore, look for alcohol-free products which will help neutralize the acidity of the mouth, slow down bacterial reproduction, and decrease VSC’s. This eliminates the cause of malodor at the source and can improve one’s breath for several hours. Fortunately, several such products exist and can be purchased online or from your dentist.

BreathRx contains Xytex which contains zinc and neutralizes VSC’s. Oxyfresh neutralizes sulfur with an oxidizing agent called Oxygene. Closys 2 was developed by periodontists and also breaks down these nasty bacterial byproducts. All three of these products are sold as mouth rinses, toothpaste, mints, and gum.

If all of the above methods are utilized without positive results, your husband might want to consult with his physician. Sometimes gastric reflux or sinus drainage can lend themselves to bad breath. These conditions may require medical attention.

Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304, or email them to drarnold@SmilesByArnold.com. More information on this or any other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.

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