Dear Dr. Levister: I’ve tried everything to curb my bad breath. I brush and floss after meals and at bedtime, avoid onions, garlic and most spicy foods. What can I do to tame this embarrassing problem? M.T.
Dear M.T.: Walk into most any store and find shelves overflowing with mints, mouthwashes and other products designed to help people combat and prevent bad breath. Yet these products represent at best only a temporary fix for (halitosis) known as bad breath.
Most bad breath originates in the mouth. The causes are numerous from eating onions and garlic, poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, gum diseases, smoking cigarettes/cigars to sinus infections and other throat conditions.
Most mouthwashes rely on alcohol to kill germs and strong minty scents to drown out odors. While I strongly recommend that you schedule a full checkup with your dentist to rule out gum disease or other dental problems that could be causing your halitosis, there is a mouthwash on the shelf that has bad breath sufferers talking again.
The mouthwash is called SmartMouth, previously sold under the less catchy name TriOral. The product claims to use a different approach to taming bad breath.
SmartMouth, manufactured by St. Louis-based Triumph Pharmaceuticals, comes in two separate pump bottles. One bottle contains sodium chlorite, a cleansing agent that combines with sulfurous gases to blunt their noxious smell. The other bottle contains zinc (in the form of zinc chloride), a mineral that discourages germs from releasing the gases in the first place. Users are instructed to mix four pumps of each bottle in a small cup and rinse for 30 to 60 seconds. Combining the two solutions creates a temporary burst of free zinc ions designed to attack germs. The product is said to provide 12- hour protection.
SmartMouth is sold in most drugstores and grocery stores. The product costs around $10.00 and if used as instructed lasts about 15 days.
If you’re old school like me daily dental hygiene, routine cleanings plus an occasional shot of Listerine or Scope will do.
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