Is it aisable to use mouthwash to get rid of bad breath?

Dear Dentist,
Can mouth wash get rid of my bad breath? If yes, what types are good for this condition?
Arnold, Kampala

Bad breath is an oral condition that bothers many people either periodically or persistently, depending on the causes. At times, it is difficult for one to know that he or she has this problem it is always our friends or partners that let us know, others may notice and react by recoiling as you speak.
It is important to know that the mouth has millions of bacteria which are the primary cause of bad breath, and these bacteria can find a conducive environment in the mouth depending on our lifestyle, especially poor oral hygiene.
However, there is a certain type of bad breath that is considered to be normal. It is referred to as morning mouth. This happens because the saliva in the mouth that regularly washes away decaying food and odours during day time diminishes while you are sleeping, leaving your mouth dry. This enables dead cells to adhere to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks.
This is why it is very important to scrub your tongue thorougly in the morning when brushing.
Before you think of any kind of treatment, it is better for you to know the causes of bad breath.

Common causes of bad breath
These include
Improper brushing of teeth and the tongue which results into poor oral hygiene
Gum disease which is normally caused by infections in the mouth
Use of tobacco through smoking and chewing
Medical systemic conditions or illnesses like the liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, among others.
Having decayed teeth (teeth with cavities or holes)
Others include overuse of garlic, onions, dry mouth condition, infections of the throat and sinus infections

Prevention
Bad breath caused by dental problems can be prevented easily. Daily maintenance calls for:
Brushing your teeth, tongue and gums after meals
Flossing
Filling of teeth with cavities (holes)
Regular visits to the dentist. One should visit the dentist at least twice a year for dental examinations and for professional cleaning of teeth (scaling and polishing).
Drinking plenty of water every day to encourage saliva production. An occasional swish of the mouth with water can loosen food particles.
Use of sugar-free gum
Dietary change like eating raw carrots as recommended by your dentist or nutritionist.

Treatment
Once the cause of bad breath has been diagnosed, the outlook for fresh breath is usually excellent as long as you stick to your dentist’s or physician’s treatment plan.
Usually, your dentist will review your medical history for medical conditions that can cause bad breath and for medications that can cause dry mouth.
Your dentist also will ask you about your diet, personal habits (smoking, chewing tobacco) and any symptoms, including when the bad breath was noticed and by whom. Other procedures include examining your teeth, gums, oral tissues and salivary glands.
It is through this examination that your dentist will ascertain which specific treatment is appropriate.
For conditions that require medical attention, your dentist will refer you to the appropriate professionals to manage the condition.
However, there are individuals who have the psychological perception that they have this condition. This is referred to as pseudo halitosis.
Such individuals need social support through dental health counselling from dentists or medical practitioners.
It is therefore not right for you to use any type of mouthwash in an attempt to get rid of your bad breath without ascertaining the cause of the condition and receiving the right treatment.

The writer is a dentist
krdent@yahoo.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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