What can be done to prevent or control bad breath?

  • Brush twice a day, for at least 2 minutes each time, and floss once a day. Remember to clean your tongue with your brush, or ideally, a tongue scraper, available at drug stores.
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash.
  • See your dentist regularly, every 6 months, for checkups and to have your teeth and mouth professionally cleaned.
  • Drink a lot of water to help prevent dry mouth.
  • Boost the production of saliva by using sugar-free chewing gum, sucking on sugar-free candy, or eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing. Your dentist might recommend or prescribe products that can produce artificial saliva or help your body produce saliva. Salagen® is one prescription drug for this purpose. Evoxac® is another that is used for patients who have Sjögren’s syndrome.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products because they can dry out your mouth.

What is the best technique for brushing teeth?

  • Use a soft toothbrush of a size and shape that allows you to reach all areas of your mouth.
  • Replace that toothbrush at least every 3 or 4 months – more often if it looks worn.
  • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use short strokes, about the width of a tooth. Make sure you get to the outside, inside and top of each tooth.
  • Don’t press down hard on the brush. That is hard on your gums, and the brush won’t work as well if the bristles are flattened against your teeth.

What is the best technique for flossing?

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wrap it around your middle fingers. Use your thumbs and forefingers to hold the floss tightly so there is an inch or two of it between your fingers. Guide that middle section between teeth and rub gently, wrapping it around the sides of your teeth. If you haven’t been flossing, there might be some discomfort for the first few days, but that should go away.

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