Sunday, October 12, 2008

Do Oral Mouthrinses Stop Bad Breath?


The answer is yes but with qualifications.
Bad breath is a very common complaint affecting around half the population in developed countries. The smell is generated by bacteria that accumulate on the tongue and produce sulphur compounds including hydrogen sulphide. This is the same compound that makes rotten eggs smell bad. To combat this, mouth rinses are classified in two categories, those that kill the bacteria producing the sulphur compounds and those that neutralise or mask the odour of these compounds. Antibacterial mouthrinses are widely used to treat bad breath, despite some uncertainty about their effectiveness.

"We found that antibacterial mouthrinses, as well as those containing chemicals that neutralise odours, are actually very good at controlling bad breath,' says lead researcher, Zbys Fedorowicz, who works at the Ministry of Health in Bahrain.

Although the different mouthrinses had similar effects on odours, the researchers point out that products containing chlorhexidine resulted in noticeable but temporary staining of the tongue and teeth, and also can temporarily alter taste sensations.
No magic mouthwashes yet. Here is an earlier study supporting the more recent findings above.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental care continue to be necessary for good, healthy breath.

Periogard by Colgate pictured above does work in some cases, requires a prescription but can only be used for a limited amount of time because prolonged use results in excessive tooth staining, altered taste and possible ulceration of oral soft tissues due to excessive drying.

A combination approach with your dentist and physician will work the best.

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