Banish bad breath

Banish bad breath

Maintenance of good oral hygiene is the key to the prevention of dental disease. Oral care is not complete only by brushing your teeth twice a day. In addition to being careful about your toothpaste and toothbrush, you should take special care to ensure that you also use a good mouthwash.

Brushing efficiency is generally lower at the gum line between the teeth, under the braces, crowns and prostheses. If germs are left there, brushing efficiency drops. However, the liquid active components of mouthwash reach such difficult spots, getting rid of food particles and germs thereby helping to prevent plaque and tooth decay. The active components of mouthwash reduce plaque in hard-to-reach places and prevent germs from spreading.

Mouthwash is of greater benefit to people who do not floss their teeth, since the mouthwash (especially if it contains antibacterial agents) goes between the teeth and prevents the formation of plaque (bacterial colonies), which are the principal cause of tooth decay and gum disease.

A mouthwash also gets rid of germs which reside on the tongue and other inaccessible areas where the toothbrush does not reach, thereby freshening the breath.

A complete oral care routine of ‘toothbrush-toothpaste-mouthwash’ helps prevent dental disease.

Benefits of mouthwash
Mouthwash generally contains a liquid vehicle to deliver active ingredients. It is more effective than toothpaste since it can reach the hard-to-reach places in the mouth and effectively fight the bacteria that cause plaque. Mouthwash is a simple delivery system and compromises the active ingredients less, thereby enabling control over the delivery of a higher dose of active ingredients.

It cleanses the mouth effectively and treats diseased states of the oral mucosa, thereby providing therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.

Mouthwashes are sold in a variety of flavours and colours, among which blue or green mint varieties are very common. The protection period offered by mouthwashes is an important criterion to consider while choosing the mouthwash that complements your oral care routine. The best option would be to brush twice a day and choose a mouthwash that offers you a 12-hour protection period, so that you are protected from germs for the period in between brushing.

There are two main benefits offered by mouthwash:
It fights and kills bacteria in hard-to-reach places in the mouth, thereby reducing the incidence of plaque and tooth decay.

It also fights bad breath. Mouthwashes are designed to eliminate bad breath in two ways. They relieve it by killing the bacteria responsible for producing the foul odour. They can prevent bad breath for as long as eight hours. They help reduce bad breath by masking the odour.

Preventing halitosis
Halitosis could be a sign of serious systemic disorder. However in 90 per cent of the cases, halitosis is due to dental and gum conditions.

Gum disease (Periodontitis) causes destruction of bone and soft tissue and formation of pus. The release of sulphur compounds by micro-organisms gives rise to a bad smell, which is characteristic of halitosis. Halitosis is an embarrassing condition for people who suffer from it.

Therefore, it is very important to practice correct method of oral hygiene like brushing and flossing, accompanied by the use of anti-bacterial mouthwash to prevent the formation of plaque and tartar, which is the main cause of gum disease.
Plaque — colonies of bacteria — also form on the tongue. The use of a good toothbrush, anti-bacterial toothpaste and tongue scraper are strongly recommended to prevent halitosis.

However, if gum disease has already been established one must visit a dentist who will treat gum disease and will also teach the correct method of oral hygiene.
In a few cases, halitosis could be due to upper respiratory tract infection like infected tonsils.  In some others, it may also be due to gastrointestinal problems.

How to use mouthwash
Mouthwash is generally to be used in an undiluted form, before or after brushing. The quantity of mouthwash to use would be 20ml or as specified on the bottle. Take the specified quantity of mouthwash, rinse mouth thoroughly for 1 minute or as specified on the bottle, gargle and then expel the mouthwash.

Tips  
For normal use, a mouthwash can be bought over the counter. However, if a mouthwash needs to be used for special problems like sensitivity it should be after proper professional supervision. Mouthwash used in proper quantity is not harmful. Dentists advise parental supervision for patients under the age of 8-10 years.

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