Bad Breath Remedies

Dr. Mel Rosenberg

19.03.08, 08:54

Remedies for bad breath are offered all around - on sleek websites, from door-to-door sales representatives and as over-the-counter potions at local drugstores. How can you figure out if they're any good? Can they even harm you? And how do you make sure they work and that you haven't spent your hard-earned dollars for some ineffective "snake oil"?
SmellWell recommends that you stay away from home remedies offered over the Internet. Some of these might work. For example, hydrogen peroxide is most likely going to cure bad breath if it's concentrated enough. Problem is, it is pretty harmful at high concentrations. Some people might suggest baking soda, but there isn't enough evidence that it works either.

For hundreds of years, people around the world have chewed various natural products for curing bad breath. These include clove, mint, parsley, fennel seeds, guava peels, mastic gum, and so on. Some of these plant products do contain antibacterial agents. However, the ironic thing is that just by chewing anything, one can probably reduce oral malodor. This is because chewing gets the saliva flowing and helps clean the mouth mechanically.

If you decide to purchase a mouthwash, get a commercial one from a large company that is sold in major stores. The large companies have to stand behind their products, and are more likely to use safe ingredients than small fly-by-night companies.

The best time to gargle with a mouthwash is right before bedtime. This can reduce the number of bacteria that hang around your mouth during the night, when the saliva flow is negligible. Furthermore, the remnants of the mouthwash can help reduce the bacterial counts over time, as they normally contain antibacterial agents.

Mouthwashes with alcohol have been around for at least a century. The alcohol in mouthrinses can dry the mouth, and may itself be metabolized to yield foul-smelling by-proudcts such as acetaldehyde. Although there is a link between heavy drinking and cancer of the mouth and throat, the preliminary finding that alcohol in mouthrinses might be related to cancer has not been rigorously established.

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