The Heartbreak of Halitosis

antioxidants in oral care

Halitosis. Bacteria. Food debris. Violent sulfur compounds. Bad breath and everythingabout it are just, well, disgusting.

The most common cause of bad breath is food particles that remain trapped around the mouth, tongue, teeth and gums. Normal bacteria that help with digestion act on the particles and release “volatile” sulfur compounds.”  “Volatile” means these compounds are vapors, and “sulfur” means they smell as bad as they sound. Careful tooth brushing and flossing helps, but it’s difficult to get rid of all the food particles, and the bacteria are even more stubborn.

An even more stubborn source of bad breath can be the bacteria that lead to periodontitis or other gum disease. In this case bacteria multiply in the biofilm created by food residue, ultimately leading to infection and inflammation. Part of the problem with infection and inflammation is a state called “oxidative stress,” which results from an overabundance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals. Oxidative stress can lead to tissue damage, especially in delicate oral tissues.

Nicotine and alcohol are also huge culprits for causing bad breath. Besides the odor from their residue, these toxins release free radicals to bring about oxidative stress, and eventually cause tissue damage.

Supplementing saliva

Saliva is part of the body’s natural defense against the bacteria that cause bad breath. It contains natural antibiotics that help control the bacteria. Saliva also contains antioxidant compounds that neutralize free radicals caused by nicotine, alcohol, poor diet as well as environmental insults and certain antioxidants are also known to have anti-microbial properties. But gum disease, poor hygiene and free radical insults from nicotine, alcohol as well as certain metals and materials used in dentistry, deplete the defense mechanism provided by salivary antioxidants.

Supplementing the saliva’s natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory processes is an important strategy for controlling bad breath and balance complicated mouth chemistry.  Antibiotics are standard treatment for gum disease, and antioxidants applied directly to the oral tissues can counteract the free radicals and mitigate inflammation. In particular, studies at Baylor College of Dentistry have shown that novel antioxidant compounds are effective at neutralizing the free radicals in the presence of nicotine, alcohol and even free radials from hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in most teeth whitening products.

For most people, brushing, flossing and an oral rinse are successful strategies forHalitosis controlling the bacteria that cause bad breath. Now, a new alcohol-free oral rinse adds the extra power of antioxidants. AO ProVantage Rinse, from PerioSciences, LLC, offers the breath freshening effects of an oral rinse using a unique combination of essential oils, menthol and thymol and adds antioxidants to support the natural salivary antioxidant system.

People who tend to have bad breath will benefit from AO ProVantage Rinse. Not only does it counteract the causes of bad breath, the antioxidants will help balance mouth chemistry and support salivary antioxidant functions.

More and more dentists are recommending their patients include topical antioxidants in their routine dental care as a way to supplement the saliva’s natural defense mechanism. For patients who experience chronic bad breath, the new antioxidant-infused oral rinse from PerioSciences holds out the promise of fresher breath with the added benefit of antioxidants.

If you would like to learn more about properly maintaining your smile or the use of antioxidants in oral care, visit the PerioSciences website, or start a conversation with PerioSciences on Facebook and Twitter.

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