Using cosmetics, mainly toothpaste and mouthwash, on a daily basis, is essential for a good oral hygiene. And specific actives favour a fresh and healthy breath, in addition to a few right gestures to optimize their efficacy.
Where does bad breath come from?
There are many causes to foul breath:
• Poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth irregularly and/or cleaning a device or a dental prosthesis superficially cannot completely eliminate the food deposits causing the proliferation of the bacteria at the origin of bad breath.
• Insufficient food chewing. Chewing enough enables to salivate enough, activate the digestive enzymes in saliva, and naturally help eliminate residues and clean the dental plaque.
• Oral diseases: caries, gingivitis, abscesses, mycosis…
• ENT and lung spheres infections: angina, rhinitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis…
• Digestive disorders: difficulties digesting, gastroesophageal acidity, reflux…
• Certain odorous foods or foods not easily digested: garlic, onion, spices, dairy products, fatty dressings, cooked pork meats…
• Medicines. Certain antibiotics, antidepressants, analgesics… dry the mouth and provoke fetid breath.
• And also alcohol, coffee, tobacco, diets, stress… which are all factors at the origin of bad breath.
On top of their main function of cleaning teeth or preventing caries, few oral hygiene products are not claimed to refresh breath. And in fact, all toothpaste or mouthwash products have this property, if only for their purifying action on the oral environment. Nevertheless, some are better than others, when their formulas incorporate actives specifically designed for this effect.
When you think toothpaste, you can immediately smell mint. This is how most oral hygiene products ‘taste’, and it is no coincidence.
Indeed, green mint ( Mentha spicata ) and peppermint ( Mentha piperita ) have recognized refreshing benefits whose persistence in the mouth is particularly efficient in masking bad breath on a long-lasting basis.
They can be found in numerous toothpaste and mouthwash products in the form of an extract, hydrolate, and essential oils in particular. If they are pleasant and show a good tolerance in this type of products, they are contraindicated with homoeopathic treatments: in this case, after taking the pills, it is recommended to wait for a few hours before using cosmetics containing them.
Other actives which immediately offer an intense refreshing sensation: menthol or eucalyptol, the former being a derivative of mint, the latter of eucalyptus.
A cosmetic product can also act on the ground to purify the oral environment, balance its flora, and limit the number of bacteria involved in the formation of bad breath. And the cosmetics industry does not lack the resources to achieve this, as many renowned actives in this field are derived from plants.
The reigning cleaning actives are sage ( Salvia officinalis ) or marshmallow ( Althaea officinalis ), which act as regulating and balancing agents for the oral environment, antibacterial lichen ( Usnea barbata ) or thyme essential oil ( Thymus vulgaris leaf oil ), or green tea ( Camellia sinensis leaf extract ), another purifying agent.
And the list of ingredients which fight against bad breath at source would not be complete without mentioning propolis, a generous gift from bees, whose bactericidal, fungicidal, and purifying properties are particularly powerful.
Alcohol in mouthwash
It is incorporated in the composition of many mouth-rinsing solutions, and often in rather high quantities.
It is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and refreshing, and it has an indisputable interest in this type of product.
However, beware if you have a somewhat sensitive oral mucous membrane: the tingling sensations it provokes can feel quite uncomfortable.
And of course, it is better not to recommend it for children, who might ingest it, even just a little…
N.B.: Alcohol is not an essential component in mouthwash formulas. It is sometimes replaced by plant waters such as that of lime ( Tilia vulgaris ), thyme ( Thymus vulgaris ), or clove ( Eugenia caryophyllus )… and with just as much efficacy.
The right gestures
In order to fight against bad breath and tartar, plaque, and surrounding bacteria, which accumulate and do nothing to refresh the mouth, nothing is better than brushing your teeth and purifying your oral cavity.
Meticulously brush your teeth in the morning and at night
and after each meal if possible. As a reminder, teeth should be brushed from the bottom up, with a slight rotation of the (preferably flexible) toothbrush inclined at 45 °. And it should not be forgotten that each tooth has several sides, so all of them should be brushed, one after the other.
• Gently cleanse your tongue . It fixes all the bacteria in food residues as well as the nasal mucus flow at the back of the throat. Rub it with a toothbrush, a tongue scraper, or a metal teaspoon from the back to the front of the mouth, without going too deep into the throat to avoid any retching.
• Think about changing toothbrushes regularly , approximately every three months.
• Use an oral irrigator each time after brushing to clean the spaces between your teeth.
• If need be, use dental floss and/or small brushes to dislodge the deposits remaining between the teeth separated by short spaces. But do not use them too much if your gums are sensitive.
• Purify the oral environment . Mouthwash comes after brushing, once you have rinsed your mouth with water. It can be diluted (in water) or used as such, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
A good technique consists in rinsing your mouth with the solution for about 30 seconds, and then to spit it. It is not recommended to rinse your mouth with water in the end: the actives remaining would have enough time to act.
• Consult your dentist once a year for a check-up and scaling, if need be.
An extra tip
As a last resort, though it can sometimes be salutary, you can use the ‘fresh-breath’ spray. It is formulated with the same base as a mouthwash (alcohol, purifying plant actives, essential oils, including that of mint, of course), it can discreetly fit anywhere (in men’s jacket pockets or women’s handbags), and quickly gives a sensation of freshness during the day. Some of them are now very efficient.