Whether it’s a picnic, beach day, family gathering or a night out with friends, summer is a time when people come together for fun.
Unfortunately, there is often a fly in the ointment when embracing the “fun season” – higher gas prices, forgetting your sunscreen, waiting in line for the rollercoaster, or that great social buzz kill, bad breath.
“For a significant number of people bad breath, also called halitosis, is an unnecessary embarrassment caused by malodorant sulfur compounds created by putrefying bacteria in your mouth, primarily in crevices of your tongue,” says Dr. Bob Kross, the oral care scientist and inventor who created the Breath Appeal products (www.breathappeal.com) that eliminate the excess odor causing bacteria.
Normal amounts of these bacteria will hardly affect your breath at all, but excessive levels can lead to bad breath and other serious oral problems, Kross says.
“You don’t have to have a chronic condition for bad breath to be a problem,” he says. “Summer is full of breath busters!”
As you plan get-togethers, he suggests keeping the following in mind:
• Barbecue feeds more than your taste buds. While some bad breath may originate in the lungs and gut, easily 90 percent comes from the mouth itself. For chronic sufferers of bad breath, excessive malodorant-producing bacteria are consistently present. For the average person however, the same bacteria thrive when fed by food particles and other debris lingering in mouth tissues.
“It’s not pleasant to think about, but grilled meat can sit wedged in your teeth and tongue crevices for hours, and these particles feed the mouth’s bacteria, increasing the risk of embarrassment associated with bad breath,” he says.
• “Beer breath” is just one phase … Just as your favorite beer or cocktail leaves an unpleasant residual odor in your mouth, frequent and long-term alcohol consumption can throw your mouth’s bacterial balance out of whack from dehydration.
“Saliva acts as a natural barrier to germs – it creates an environment that they can’t tolerate,” Kross says. “If you have a dry mouth, whether from dehydration related to alcohol consumption, heat, or a medication you’re prescribed, you lose that defense against germs.”
• National Fresh Breath day is Aug. 6. As if on cue to treat your favorite summer habits, Aug. 6th reminds us that our family, friends, coworkers and neighbors would prefer the same courtesy that most of them extend to you – breath that doesn’t make you want to make you slowly back away during a conversation.
“We’ve all had those moments when we were distracted from what someone was saying because of their bad breath,” Kross says. “It really can affect your social life.”
• School is near. Fresh breath can help kids’ social life. “No one is too young to experience bad breath, and school children of all ages who are seeking structure and acceptance at the beginning of a school year can suffer a traumatizing setback if they’re teased about their breath,” he says.
Make sure your student is practicing good oral hygiene this summer with regular brushing and flossing. If the problem persists, remember that most traditional mints and sprays merely blanket underlying odors for the short term.