When toothpaste and mouthwash don't work, what can you do to quell your bad breath? Here are three odd--but medically sound--cures for halitosis.
Cure No. 1: Take zinc
HealthDayNews reports that research published in the French journal Revue De Stomatologie Et De Chirurgie Maxillo-Faciale concludes that the main cause of chronic bad breath is a group of compounds that contain sulfur. The sulfur-producing bacteria gather on the back of the tongue and on the teeth. (Mind you, chronic bad breath is caused by more than just eating onions for lunch.) Zinc apparently makes your breath smell better because it binds to the sulfur. So look for mouthwashes, gum, toothpaste, and even cold lozenges that contain zinc to zap that bad breath.
Cure No. 2: Get the right toothpaste
The best toothpaste for sweet breath is one with stannous fluoride, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry. Every toothpaste promotes itself as a cavity-fighter and breath-freshener. But when it comes to that sweet extra something for your breath, which one does the best job?
When researchers compared three types of toothpaste--one with stannous fluoride, an anti-tartar, and an anti-microbial--among three groups of people and gave a fourth group bottled water to act as a control, they found that the toothpaste that contained 0.45 percent stannous fluoride actually produced better breath, reports HealthDayNews.
Cure No. 3: Zap it with a laser
An Israeli scientist has developed a 15-minute laser treatment that has worked successfully in 53 patients whose bad breath emanates from their tonsils. According to New Scientist magazine, the laser treatment developed by Yehuda Finkelstein of Meir Hospital at the Sapir Medical Centre in Kfar Saba, Israel is used for a rare type of halitosis that wafts relentlessly from the tonsils.
For most of us, bad breath is caused by the build-up of bacteria around the gums and teeth; those bacteria then release foul-smelling gases. But for about 6 percent of people who suffer from bad breath, the bacteria breed in grooves in their tonsils. The laser treatment zaps the infected tonsil tissue and creates a scar that seals the grooves so bacteria cannot grow back. Of the 53 patients who have received this treatment, more than half were cured after just one treatment. The others required two or three more sessions--but all were cured.