Have You Considered Making Your Own Mouthwash?

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If you regularly use mouthwash that you’ve purchased at the store, then you know it isn’t cheap. But did you also know that store-bought mouthwash often includes alcohol and is loaded with a blend of chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce.

So why not make your own mouthwash at home? Here are five easy recipes that won’t break the bank and will provide you with lots of tasty mouthwashes that use “real” ingredients. 

Three-Ingredient Mouthwash

Ingredients:

1 cup of filtered water

1 teaspoon of baking soda

3 drops of peppermint essential oil (you can also use cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, peppermint, or tea tree essential oils)

Instructions:

Add all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake very well. This can be kept in the bathroom and does not require refrigeration. Shake well before each use.

 

Grandma’s Disinfecting Mouthwash

Ingredients:

1 cup of filtered water

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

Mix the ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before each use. This will keep forever right on your bathroom countertop.

 

Simple Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash

Ingredients:

1 part hydrogen peroxide

1 part filtered water

Instructions:

Don’t make a large batch of this solution. Try one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of water, for example. Mix in a ceramic or glass container (such as a glass or coffee cup) and use immediately. Swish in the mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow, and do not save any extra solution.

  

Super Citrus Oil Mouthwash

Ingredients:

2 cups of filtered water

2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate powder

1 teaspoon of xylitol crystals

10 drops of trace mineral liquid

10 drops of peppermint essential oil

5 drops of lemon essential oil

3 drops of wild orange essential oil

Instructions:

In a mason jar, or other similar container with a lid, stir together the xylitol crystals and the calcium powder. Add the essential oils and liquid minerals. Stir again to be sure everything is well combined. Add your water and stir. Close the lid and shake for 1 minute. That’s it! How easy was that?! You can find all these ingredients in your local natural or health food store or online. Store this in the refrigerator (it keeps for 2 to 3 weeks) and shake well before each use.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health.  It is recommended by many dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum and mouthwash.  It will also improve the taste and even the effectiveness of your mouthwash.

 

Cinnamon and Honey Mouthwash

Ingredients:

2 organic lemons, juiced

½ tablespoon of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder!)

5 teaspoons of raw, organic honey

1 cup of warm water

Instructions:

Using a mason jar or similar type of container with a tight-fitting lid, add all ingredients in the order given. Be sure the water is very warm as it needs to melt the honey. Close the lid and shake for one minute. Store in the refrigerator and use two tablespoons as a mouth rinse.

As with any mouthwash, be sure not to swallow during use. Happy gargling!

 

Sources: GreenMedInfo.com, DIYnatural.com, TheAlternativeDaily.com

7 Ideas to Enhance Your Family’s Oral Health

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If tooth decay and gum disease are two oral health problems you want your family to avoid this year, then we have 7 great tips to help your family have a healthy year for their teeth and gums. Remember, most gum disease and tooth decay is preventable if you practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you and each member of your family spend a couple of minutes a day flossing and brushing and that you make good choices to enhance your oral health. For a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, that’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Begin at six months. Start your child’s dental care around six months, which is when their first tooth generally appears. Initially, use a damp cloth or soft brush to wipe your baby’s teeth. Once a child turns two, they can brush for themselves with adult supervision.

Consider sealants. Just 33% of kids in the United States receive dental sealants, but it is a great way to protect your child’s permanent molars when they come in at age 6. The sealant is applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces on the molars and provides protection against decay.

The daily duo. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, so it’s not something you want in your mouth.

Finish your meals the right way. Rinse your mouth right after a meal with water and/or an antibacterial rinse. Another tip is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum right after you eat to enhance the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria and reduces acid.

Practice smart eating. Be sure to include whole foods in your diet because they will provide your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That means to be sure to eat nuts, grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Say no to soda. Sugary sodas are “double trouble” because of their high sugar content and because people tend to sip them over extended periods of time. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, because they produce acid when they break down the sugar. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, which can then lead to decay.

See your dentist regularly. Make an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months if you want to stay on top of your oral health. Your dental hygienist will get rid of built-up plaque on your teeth and check for tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

11 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Mouth in 2018

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If you’re a fan of making New Year’s resolutions – and sticking to them – then we have 11 helpful tips for keeping your smile bright and your mouth happy in 2018. Even if you aren’t a fan of New Year’s resolutions, our list is still a great place to start on the road to good oral health this year.

Modifying your diet can whiten your teeth

If you’re a fan of black tea or red wine - or a smoker - your teeth are going to suffer. Dark foods and beverages stain your teeth which equals a dingy smile. Gravies, dark juice and colas are also hard on your smile. To counter these dark foods, brush right after you eat or drink them. Eating an apple is also a great on-the-go solution to clean your teeth.

Toss your toothbrush regularly

Get yourself in the habit of getting rid of your toothbrush every three months. That includes the head of your electric toothbrush. Bacteria settle into the bristles of your brush over time, and after a couple of months, you are just transferring a bunch of bacteria to your mouth every time you brush. Plus, worn bristles don’t clean your teeth as well. In fact, plan for the year by getting out your 2018 calendar now and note every 90 days to change your toothbrush.

Eat foods that “scrub”

Raw carrots, celery and popcorn – along with apples – are great foods that naturally scrub your teeth. Eat them at the end of a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating. They are great for when you can’t get to your toothbrush and they have the added value of being high in vitamins and fiber.

Use a natural mouthwash like apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural multi-purpose mouthwash. Gargle with it in the morning before your brush. It will help remove stains on your teeth, whiten them, and zap bacteria in your mouth.

Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

Baking soda will naturally remove stains and make your teeth whiter. Use it the same way you would your toothpaste.

Be a boss of your floss

Less than half of Americans say they floss daily – which is a definite oral health mistake for those who don’t floss regularly. It just takes two minutes once a day. To make it easier to get in a daily floss, stash packages in your purse or backpack, in your desk, and next to your bed. That will make it much more difficult to find excuses not to floss.

Switch your gum

If you like gum, then be sure to use sugar-free gum. For an even better result, purchase gum with xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that has been proven to reduce plaque. Plus, gum produces saliva, which washes away food particles in your mouth and acid from your teeth.

Brush at optimal times to enhance the results

Brush when you first get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. Why? Because saliva – which is a natural plaque fighter – dries up when you sleep, so you should be sure to avoid getting into bed with a mouth full of plaque. When you get up in the morning and brush, your toothbrush will remove any plaque that built up during the night. Plus it will get rid of bacteria, which causes bad breath!

Twice a day keeps the dentist away

Spend two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth and you are almost guaranteed to reduce the bad news (cavities) when you visit your dentist the next time.

Moderate your sugar intake

Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. When sugars aren't cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Once plaque forms, the acids wear away the enamel, which is the tooth's hard outer surface. These tiny openings in the enamel represent the first stage of cavities. So cut down on your sugar intake. Swap water for soda, or sugar-free gum for your regular gum.

See your dentist regularly

Twice a year is how often you should be seeing your dentist. Book a dental hygiene appointment every six months for a professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will take a thorough look in your mouth and spot any potential issues before they become full-blown emergencies.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, WebMD, Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

7 Resolutions to Help You Improve Your Smile in 2017

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Happy New Year! The holidays have come-to-a-close, yet winter remains for another 2-3 months. It’s the perfect time for reflection at another year gone by and making resolutions for the one to come. Self-improvement is a great way to make these cold winter nights a little bit brighter after all. Maybe you’re finally ready to quit that bad habit or you’re planning that trip you’ve always wanted to take. There are a ton of ways you can improve your smile if you stop to think about it.

The trick to making your teeth healthy is not necessarily expensive dental work, unless of course you already have a dental problem that needs addressing. The very first step is a consultation with your dentist. A hygiene appointment and x-rays are affordable and serve as an excellent starting point. You can talk to your hygienist about a customized treatment plan at home to make 2017 the year of improving your dental health.

1.      Brush More Often

Brushing your teeth is crucial to good dental care. Professionals recommend that you brush your teeth . at least twice a day. When making your resolution, brushing more might seem daunting, but there are a couple things you can do to keep your schedule. And don’t forget to keep your family brushing regularly too, especially from an early age.

You may also consider a travel toothbrush for your office or work to keep your brushing routine regular. The trick to making a regular brushing schedule stick is set reminders for yourself the first few weeks on your phone or watch. Hopefully after a few weeks of practice, brushing two to three times a day will feel like second nature.

2.      Floss Every Day

No matter your age, flossing once each-and-every day is the BEST way to insure a healthy smile. Dental floss is stronger and easier to use than ever, and there are flossing aides like flossing picks and Waterpik available as alternatives if you find it difficult to start. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you might find it cumbersome or even painful to the point of it causing your gums to bleed. This is normal, for a time, however if bleeding continues more than a week or two you probably have gingivitis and should consult with your dentist.

3.      Eat (& Drink) Better

The most popular resolution each year is diet. We all want to look better, improve our physical appearance and become healthier. Your oral health effects the rest of your body and your appearance, and yet it is often forgotten when it comes to eating habits. Sure, we know sugar is bad and vegetables are good, but are you making sure you brush every time you drink a sugary drink or stain your teeth with coffee or red wine?

Avoiding certain food and drink in your diet isn’t the only thing you can do. Eating those vegetables, nuts, fruits and other foods with antioxidants helps to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria that can lead to gum disease. They also help with nutrition in most diets, as to not get in the way of shedding those extra pounds. Think of it as one more reason to get healthy this year!

4.      Curb Bad Habits

Nervous habits and addictions are bad for your teeth. Smoking for instance will stain your teeth, damage your gums and can cause oral cancer, and that’s just for starters. Coffee addicts will notice considerable staining to their teeth over time and if you chew your nails or lips you might find yourself with sores, increased risk of infection and damage to enamel.

Breaking a habit is always an uphill battle, but there’s no better time than the start of the new year. If you needed one more reason to drop the cigarettes, cut back on caffeine or find other ways to keep your hands busy and out of your mouth, your dental health is it. Cigarettes in particular, will be the biggest challenge and you can speak to your dentist for suggestions on breaking the chemical dependency over time. Dental friendly chewing gum is a great place to start in most cases.

5.      Get Your Oral Cancer Screening

Our dentists recommend an annual check-up for oral cancer. Every year thousands of people die from oral cancer and most of those cases are treatable if found early. When you visit, our dental care team will check for bumps and inflammation that may be an early sign of cancer. Oral cancer is on the rise due to HPV or the human papillomavirus. Screening only needs to be conducted annually but at the very least be sure to ask for a screening every few visits to the dentist.

6.      Set a Schedule

What is the single most important step in making dental health as a resolution stick? Sticking to the schedule of course. Not only do you need to set a personal, daily schedule for yourself and your family, but you’ll also need to set a schedule with your dentist. Every patient has different dental needs, but the average, healthy person should see the dentist for cleaning and an exam every six months, regardless of age.

Seeing a dentist regularly for smaller, routine care has proven to be more cost effective than waiting for restorative care. It’s especially worth considering a set schedule with your dentist if you have insurance benefits of some kind or if you are nervous about fillings or root canals. With a regular cleaning schedule at home that involves flossing, brushing and a healthy diet, visiting your dentist AT LEAST twice a year is the final and crucial piece to a perfect smile.

7.      Smile More

It might seem simple, but we don’t smile enough. Maybe you don’t smile because you’re shy or because you are self-conscious about your teeth. Maybe, like most of us, you don’t really remember to do it until it’s too late. Studies have shown how positive a smile can be on you and those around you. Smiling can improve productivity, energy and atmosphere at work. It can make shopping easier, and it can lead to social interaction you had closed yourself off to. If everyone made it their resolution to smile more, we could change that together.

 

Source: 123Dentist.com, Colgate.com

 

Bad Breath Remedy Plan for Holiday Parties

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Bad Breath Can Be Uncomfortable for You and Those Around You

There's so much to worry about at Christmas, from the presents to what you should wear to event - but we often forget about our breath.

Bad breath can not only be embarrassing but it can also be a sign of something more serious like gum disease.

Whether it’s rich food, office drinks or pre-party exercise, you'll be shocked to learn how lifestyle changes during the festive season can impact bad breath.

Horrified at mouth odor, many people immediately reach for the mints. But this can create a vicious cycle in which they eat more sugar, which creates more bacteria and more bad breath. And then they eat even more mints, exacerbating the problem. Here’s some tips to keep your breath smelling great for the festivities.

Eat Smart

We’re all tempted to eat more of the things that we shouldn’t over Christmas and often don’t realize the effect that constant grazing can have on our breath.

·        Beat the buffet: Be aware that Christmas party favorites like walnuts, brazil nuts, smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés can contribute to bad breath, as they provide a source of sulphur-producing bacteria which can cause oral odor. Other foods with sulphur-producing bacteria include dairy, meat, fish, egg, nuts and beans, so mix it up when you’re piling up your plate.

·        Pass the parsley: Christmas platters are filled with parsley and mint, so don’t leave them on the buffet table! Chew on a fresh sprig of parsley, as the chlorophyll in these green plants are a known breath deodorizer and neutralize odors.

·        Munch on Veggies: Vegetables can also help to keep your breath fresh. Carrots and celery are full of water and vitamin C that flush out your mouth and kill odor-causing bacteria. Head to the crudité table at the party to snack on the veggies between each breath-spoiling course.

·        Bite on a Lemon: Citrus fruit causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which acts as a cleaning agent to rinse away plaque and bacteria. If you find yourself in a smelly situation, ask for a lemon with your water. Bite into the lemon, and swish the juice around your mouth for a few seconds.

Brush Your Teeth

Before you head out to the party, make sure to brush your teeth to get rid of all the bacteria that you have accumulated throughout the day. Pay special attention to your tongue; a lot of foul-smelling bacteria like to hang out there. For office parties, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk at work so you can slip off to the bathroom before your office turns into a party zone.

Drink Water

When you have a dry mouth, it can make bad breath worse. Since alcoholic drinks are drying agents, they can exacerbate a bad breath problem. Sip on a glass of water in between each drink to stay hydrated. Bonus: This can also help to prevent hangovers caused by dehydration.

Chew Sugarless Gum

If you still can't shake that feeling that your breath smells terrible, or if you simply overdid it on the garlic, chew on a stick of sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum will not replace brushing your teeth, but it can cover up odors and increase saliva production to rinse away foul-smelling bacteria.

Source: Colgate.com, Express.CO.UK

 

 

 

Homemade Mouthwash Alternatives

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9 Natural Mouthwashes You’ll Feel Good About Using While Saving Some Bucks

Believe it or not, mouthwashes have been around for a long, long time. In fact, the very first references that we have are from books in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine that list ingredients for a mouth rinse for the treatment of gingivitis from about 2700 B.C.!

There are other examples as well. Hippocrates recommended making a combination of vinegar, alum, and salt to stop bad breath. Native Americans often used plants, such as three leaf golden thread, soaked in water as a mouth rinse to stop infections. The Romans, and Greek upper class people, typically used a mouth rinse after “brushing” their teeth with sticks or reeds.

In 1970, there were only about 15 brands and types of mouthwash in the United States. Today, there are more than 112! Rinsing out the mouth with a mouthwash is considered to be important for good oral hygiene, but store-bought chemical mouthwash is filled with potentially harmful ingredients like thymol, which is known to be dangerous to the environment as well as to aquatic organisms, and hexetidine, considered to be carcinogenic.

In addition to avoiding possible toxins, you might also save some of your hard-earned cash and even see better results by making your own mouthwash. Here are some great home recipes for mouthwash.

 

1. Super Citrus Oil Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       2 cups of filtered water

·       2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate powder

·       1 teaspoon of xylitol crystals

·       10 drops of trace mineral liquid

·       10 drops of peppermint essential oil

·       5 drops of lemon essential oil

·       3 drops of wild orange essential oil

Instructions:

In a mason jar, or other similar container with a lid, stir together the xylitol crystals and the calcium powder. Add the essential oils and liquid minerals. Stir again to be sure everything is well combined. Add your water and stir. Close the lid and shake for 1 minute. That’s it! How easy was that?! You can find all these ingredients in your local natural or health food store or online. Store this in the refrigerator (it keeps for 2 to 3 weeks) and shake well before each use.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health.  It is recommended by many dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum and mouthwash.  It will also improve the taste and even the effectiveness of your mouthwash.

 


2. Super Simple Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       1 cup of filtered water

·       4 teaspoons of baking soda

·       4 drops of tea tree essential oil

·       4 drops of peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a mason jar or similar container with a lid. Shake very well. Use about 2 tablespoons of this mixture each day, the same way you would use mouthwash for super white teeth and fresh breath. The baking soda will usually settle to the bottom of the container after a few hours, but don’t worry, this is normal. Simply shake well before each use.

 

3. Cinnamon and Honey Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       2 organic lemons, juiced

·       ½ tablespoon of cinnamon powder

·       1 teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder!)

·       1.5 teaspoons of raw, organic honey

·       1 cup of warm water

Instructions:

Using a mason jar or similar type of container with a tight fitting lid, add all ingredients in the order given. Be sure the water is very warm as it needs to melt the honey. Close the lid and shake for one minute. Store in the fridge and use two tablespoons as a mouth rinse.

 


4. Three-Ingredient Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       1 cup of filtered water

·       1 teaspoon of baking soda

·       3 drops of peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Add all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake very well. This can be kept in the bathroom and does not require refrigeration. Shake well before each use.

 

5. Grandma’s Disinfecting Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       1 cup of filtered water

·       2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

Mix the ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before each use. This will keep forever right on your bathroom countertop.

 


6. Herb-Infused Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       2 cups of filtered water

·       ½ ounce of whole cloves

·       1 ounce of Oregon grape root

·       1 ounce of rosemary sprigs

Instructions:

Boil the water and then add all remaining ingredients to the water. Boil for one minute, then turn off the fire and cover the pot. Allow herbs to steep in the water overnight. Strain out the herbs with a piece of cheesecloth in the morning and store in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before each use and store in the refrigerator. This will keep 7 to 14 days in the fridge.

 

7. Simple Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       1-part hydrogen peroxide

·       1-part filtered water

Instructions:

Don’t make a large batch of this solution. Try one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of water, for example. Mix in a ceramic or glass container (such as a glass or coffee cup) and use immediately. Swish in the mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow, and do not save any extra solution.

 

8. Sweet-Smelling Essential Oil Mouthwash

Ingredients:

·       1 cup of filtered water

·       20 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Best choices are cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, peppermint, or tea tree oil

Instructions:

In a glass container with a tight fitting lid, combine all ingredients and shake well. Always shake well before each use. This mixture will keep on the kitchen counter or bathroom counter forever.

 

9. Oral Cancer Fighting Turmeric Solution

Ingredients:

·       10 mg of turmeric extract

·       ½ cup of water

Instructions:

Use 10 mg of turmeric extract dissolved in a little less than a ½ cup of water. A drop or two of peppermint oil can be added for flavoring; alternatively, you can just stir a little turmeric powder into warm water. Either will result in an outstanding mouthwash for treating inflamed gums and even relieving a toothache.

Since ancient times, turmeric has been used for remedying oral ailments, among other therapeutic applications too numerous to count. Studies have shown that using turmeric as part of a mouth cleansing solution can be more effective than a chemical mouthwash. The curcumin in turmeric acts to disrupt the cycle of dental plaque formation. Research has found that turmeric extract and turmeric oil may reverse precancerous changes in oral submucous fibrosis in humans and even kill oral cancer cells.

As with any mouthwash, be sure not to swallow during use. Happy gargling! 

 

Sources: TheAlternativeDaily.com, DIYnatural.com, GreenMedInfo.com

 

 

6 Ways to Fresher Breath in the Morning

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Love waking up to the smell of coffee? Think twice before you reach for a cup! Your daily dose of Joe — and other habits that can easily escape your notice — could be giving you a bad case of morning breath. But fear not! Bad breath, or "halitosis", doesn't have to ruin your day. Nip the problem in the (taste)buds by giving these simple tips a try:

 

1. Cut the caffeine.

Coffee isn't the only beverage in town that can leave your breath less than fresh. Gulping down certain teas and energy drinks for a morning buzz may result in bad breath if they contain caffeine, which can inhibit the production of saliva. When the mouth is too dry, it allows oral bacteria, the main purveyor of halitosis, to flourish. To jumpstart the mind and body without this unpleasant side effect, turn to morning stretches and a refreshing smoothie or citrus-infused water instead. If you have to consume caffeinated beverages, be sure to hydrate with multiple glasses of water.

 

2. Stop smoking.

Besides putting you at risk for lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth and cause your breath to smell bad, dealing your oral health a double whammy. From the combustion of chemical additives to the tiny smoke particles left in your throat and lungs, it's almost inevitable that your breath ends up tasting and smelling stale. If you feel the urge to take a puff in the morning, distract yourself by doing light chores, or going for a quick walk. Obviously, a smoking habit may cause a more chronic breath problem, so quitting cigarettes and other forms of tobacco is your best bet for a more permanent solution.

 

3. Don't skip breakfast.

Pass on the coffee and cigarettes, but eat breakfast — and a nutritious one at that! After a long night's sleep, your mouth could benefit from a boost in saliva production, and a good meal is the perfect way to do it. Grab an apple for its high water content and crunchiness, both of which can help cut down on odor-causing bacteria. Yogurt and eggs can also promote saliva production while giving you a healthy serving of calcium and vitamin D. Get creative, but be selective, as some of your favorite breakfast foods may include not-so-breath-friendly ingredients such as garlic or onions.

 

4. Do a better job of brushing and flossing.

You're running late, but if there's one thing you shouldn't rush, it's your morning dental routine. From stuck food particles to gingivitis and even nasty tonsil stones, it all adds up to one major case of halitosis if left unchecked. For mornings where standard brushing and flossing doesn't seem to do the trick, get a deeper clean by scraping the gunk off your tongue and gargling with mouthwash. If you find yourself flying out the door and forgetting about your oral hygiene frequently, keep a travel-sized dental kit in your bag or at the office for convenience.

 

5. Check (and change) your sleeping habits.

More often than not, bad breath is noticeable the moment you wake up. The problem may not be what you eat or drink, or even how your brush and floss. Instead, it could be how you breathe during your sleep. Breathing orally throughout the night can quickly turn your mouth into a haven for oral bacteria, resulting in a parched sensation and an unpleasant odor. Depending on the severity of the situation, your dentist may recommend surgery, but something as simple as having a glass of water, sugar-free lozenge, or a humidifier on hand at night can help keep your mouth moist.

 

6. Let your dentist have a look.

In some cases, morning breath that persists despite your efforts to remedy it may signal something more serious, from cavities and tooth infections, to diabetes and liver and kidney problems. Play it safe by seeing your dentist. He or she can help you determine and treat the root cause more efficiently, and provide you with a personalized treatment plan to rid yourself of the problem for good.

 

 

SOURCES: American Dental Association, WebMD, Mayo Clinic

 

 

Demystifying Mouthwash: Good for Oral Health or Harmful?

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Four Proven Benefits and Five Myths of Oral Rinse

Who doesn’t love that minty kick that comes from a swig of mouthwash? Your oral rinse could be doing more than just giving your breath a makeover, according to many mouthwash makers — it could be chockfull of health benefits, too. Just check out the label on your mouthwash container, and you may find that it’s a plaque zapper, a teeth whitener, perhaps even a gum-disease fighter.

But are the claims true? Is mouthwash really good for your mouth? Turns out, the answer is yes and no.

Four True Mouthwash Benefits

Mouthwash may:

Cut Down On Cavities. Rinsing with a fluoride rinse can help reduce cavities and studies have shown the benefits of fluoride in reducing demineralization of the teeth.

Fight Gum Disease. With periodontal disease (such as gingivitis), gums and tooth sockets can get inflamed or infected because of plaque from bacteria and food that lingers on teeth. An antibacterial mouthwash, like one with alcohol or chlorhexidine, may help prevent periodontal disease.

Soothe Canker Sores. Mouthwash can ease a canker sore by detoxing the area and reducing the amount of bacteria that can irritate the site.

Safeguard Your Pregnancy. Periodontal disease is actually a risk factor for giving birth to preterm, low-weight babies. The bacteria from a gum infection can get into a pregnant woman’s bloodstream and increase inflammatory markers, which in turn can stimulate contractions. And a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that moms-to-be who used mouthwash throughout their pregnancy were less likely to go into early labor.

 

Five Mouthwash Myths

Mouthwash can help keep your gums and teeth healthy—but only if you use them properly. We’ve got expert tips on boosting the benefits of mouth rinses.

All Mouthwashes Are Made Equal

Rinsing with a cosmetic mouthwash will loosen bits of food from your teeth, lessen bacteria in your mouth, temporarily reduce bad breath and leave a refreshing taste in your mouth. But these products can’t make any greater claim than that. 

Therapeutic rinses contain additional active ingredients such as essential oils, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride and fluoride, which have been proven to reduce plaque or fight cavities.


Mouthwash is Harmless

Many mouthwashes contain a high amount of alcohol. This can cause a dry mouth, which ironically is a cause of bad breath, and irritate oral tissues. In some people, the alcohol can cause sensitivity to the root surfaces of the teeth. There have also been studies suggesting a link between alcohol-containing mouthwash and oral cancer, but the research is limited and many experts says there’s not enough evidence to draw this conclusion. It’s an issue that has been discussed since the 1970s with no definitive answers. One stumbling block has been the way the studies have been designed, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). As of now, the ADA has put its Seal of Acceptance on some mouth rinses containing alcohol after it extensively reviewed their effectiveness and safety.

Alcohol-free mouthwashes are available. But other ingredients can cause side effects, too. Many can stain your teeth or cause a burning sensation. Essential oils may have an uncomfortably sharp taste. Chlorhexidine can temporarily alter your sense of taste, and isn’t recommended for long-term use. Mouthwash is not meant to be ingested, so it may cause problems if accidentally swallowed. It’s not usually recommended for young children.


Mouthwash Cures Bad Breath

Mouthwash may temporarily curtail bad breath, but it’s not a permanent fix. Some people may be masking the symptoms of an oral health disease or condition. With some conditions such as periodontal (gum) disease, bad breath, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth are indicators that something is wrong. There is no amount of mouthwash that can mask the effects of poor health.

Also, smelly compounds from your garlicky lunch, for example, are actually coming from your lungs as you exhale, so freshening your mouth won’t help for long. Your saliva can work against you too. Saliva dilutes mouthwash. In some cases, the proteins in saliva can reduce the effectiveness of mouthwash ingredients.


Mouthwash Can Replace Brushing

Mouthwash can cut back the level of bacteria in your mouth. Regular brushing and flossing will do a much more effective job of removing plaque and debris than mouthwash alone. Research shows that adding a rinse with mouthwash to your oral care routine can in fact improve the overall cleanliness of your mouth and help keep gum inflammation at bay. But mouthwash is usually considered an add-on, not a replacement for brushing and flossing. In special situations, like after oral surgery, your healthcare provider might direct you to use a mouth rinse instead of brushing. This will be temporary, and soon you’ll be back to your usual mouth care.

 

A little Swish Is All You Need

Do you gargle or rinse for a few quick seconds, then spit? Most mouthwashes are at their most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use. But despite best intentions, some people say mouthwash is so strong or stings so much that it’s difficult to use for that long. Still, it’s worth sticking it out if you want the best results. Mouthwash should be used as directed by the manufacturer.

 

The Bottom Line On Your Oral Rinse

Ultimately, what is right for your best friend may not be the best choice for you, so consider your personal situation. Talk to your dentist on the effects of mouthwash and which one may be best for your mouth.

 

Sources: EverydayHealth.com, KnowYourTeeth.com, Best Health Magazine