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Tongue scrapers offer short-term reduction of bad breath

A proactive oral hygiene regimen that includes using a tongue scraper can offer people with halitosis, or bad breath, some short-term relief, according to a recent study.

Researchers studied literature examining the effects of using tongue scrapers to clean the tongue, rather than only using a toothbrush to clear volatile sulfur compounds, or VSC, accumulated on the tongue. They found that using a tongue scraper showed a significant difference in reducing VSC levels produced when bacteria and amino acids interact to produce bad breath, but only for a short time. The study appeared in the September/October issue of General Dentistry.

According to the ADA, bad breath can originate from a variety of causes, including strong foods (like garlic and onions), dieting, poor oral hygiene, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth (xerostomia), using tobacco products or a medical disorder like a respiratory infection, sinusitis, postnasal drip, bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, or a liver or kidney ailment.

Individuals who struggle with bad breath should have regular checkups to allow their dentist to detect any problems such as periodontal disease, a dry mouth or other disorders that may be the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating periodontal disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.

Good oral hygiene is essential to controlling bad breath. The ADA recommends brushing twice a day and cleaning between teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners and cleaning the tongue. Denture wearers should remove dentures at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning. For more information on bad breath, visit http://www.ada.org/2941.aspx?currentTab=1.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

08/31/2011

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