Stinky breath. We’ve all run into someone with this problem. It’s offensive and so we do what we can to protect our sense of smell – cover our nose, turn away a bit, run our finger under our noses. But the breath can be so bad, the odor still comes through.
You may find it hard to believe but it has been estimated that 25-30% of the world’s population has chronic bad breath. In the U.S. that equates to about 75 million people. What’s more, Americans spend billions of dollars each year for products to treat bad breath with little result.
However, bad breath is not a new phenomenon. About 3,000 years ago, what is believed to be the first reference to bad breath was noted in Chinese writings. In ancient Egypt, it was treated by chewing on different roots and herbs like cinnamon or mint. In fact, the same treatment for bad breath – covering up one odor with a stronger, more pleasant one – exists today as it has for thousands of years.
We now know that over 90% of bad breath is the result of bacteria that breed in our mouths and produce volatile sulfur compounds that are exhaled in our breath (VSC’s). These particular bacteria thrive in the dark, moist, air-free areas of our mouths – the topside of the tongue, between the teeth, and in areas of the gums where inflammation and gum disease exists.
Modern treatment for halitosis most likely began with Listerine in the 1920’s. At that time, it appears that “fresh breath” came into vogue in the roaring 1920s, right after the Great War (WWI), when people were feeling prosperous, new ideas were common place, and vast new possibilities open. At this time too, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors all flourished with new techniques and drugs to try and profits to be had.
It was during this time that the practice of sterilization flourished. The idea of killing bacteria was now in vogue and just needed someone to come along and apply it to bad breath. With this as background, Listerine mounted an advertising campaign that pronounced itself as the cure for chronic halitosis. The public readily agreed, especially because the formulation, with 26% alcohol, which is now believed toxic by many, created a noticeable astringency that caused people to believe their mouth was being sterilized of germs. Listerine became the best-selling mouthwash for decades, and the idea of fresh breath, now defined by astringency and a strong odor, took off.
As research into the causes of bad breath gained steam, it became apparent that the tongue and the areas under the gums were coated by a biofilm, an organic layer that harbors live bacteria and debris that acts as its food. Since this may have been growing there for years or even decades it may take professional treatment to remove. The process of returning the tongue to a state that is coating-free is called Tongue Rejuvenation, a painless technique that removes the biofilm layer by layer. Done in conjunction with the elimination of any gum inflammation and food traps, it is the only permanent cure available.
Another way that creates success is with active chlorine dioxide products to kill the destructive bacteria and render the sulfur compounds inactive. There are currently a few of these active chlorine dioxide products available such as Supreme Breath, ProFresh, and DioxiCare. How can you tell which products are active? Since the activity of chlorine dioxide is time limited, it takes two separate solutions to be mixed together to produce the active compound. Thus, active chlorine dioxide products must come in two separate bottles to be mixed.
However, to make these products effective, they must be used properly. If you or someone you know has bad breath, here is a breath management protocol that has been proven to work.
Beating Bad Breath Personal Treatment
- Brush with Active chlorine dioxide toothpaste for 2 minutes or more
- Saturate 3 gauze with Active chlorine dioxide mouthrinse solution after mixing
- Scrub your tongue, especially the back, in every direction for 10 seconds. Repeat twice also wiping the remainder of the top surface.
- Rinse and gargle 2 minutes with Active ClO2 mouthwash
Mid-Morning, Mid-Afternoon, and After Lunch: Depending on the severity of your problem, repeat the gauze treatment and/or the rinse as you feel necessary.
Before bed: Repeat full After breakfast regimen above.
While active chlorine dioxide will kill bacteria and neutralize the odors of bad breath for many people, for those with chronic bad breath, the professional cure may be the best procedure available.
About the Author
Richard A. Miller, DDS is the founder and director of the National Breath Center located in Falls Church, VA. General dentist for over 30 years and author of two books, Beating Bad Breath(1993) and Beating Bad Breath — The Cure!(2014), Dr. Miller has been helping thousands win their battle with chronic bad breath using his proven bad breath Total Cure professional treatment. Learn more at National Breath Center.