Oct 17, 2006, TimesLeader.com, Pennsylvania.
ASK DR. MITCHELL HECHT
Bad Breath! Get Scraper for Tongue!
Q: Do you have any suggestions for "morning breath"? - E.G., Macon, GA.
A: Morning Breath happens to almost everyone.
Contrary to popular belief, its main source is not bacteria on the teeth; rather it's mostly caused by oral bacteria that grows on and around the back of the tongue.
Bacteria munch on food residue, forming stinky sulfur based waste that smells like "rotten eggs".
Of course, brushing your teeth and gums will reduce the amount of debris that those little bugs munch on. Gum disease, infection, and bleeding gums also lay out the "welcome mat" for bacteria.
During sleep, your saliva production slows down, especially if you're a mouth breather.
When we eat, the heavy saliva production disperses the bacteria in the mouth. At night, there's less saliva and more bacterial growth, leading to morning breath.
Post-nasal mucus drainage at night gives bacteria even more food.
What can be done? The best way to overcome this morning event is to reduce the bacteria in your mouth - especially on the back of the tongue, where at least 80 percent of breath odor originates.
Beyond brushing and flossing, a tongue scraper is probably the best way to reduce bad breath.
While alcohol-based mouth-washers will temporarily freshen your breath and kill some of the bacteria, they also dry out your mouth and encourage even more bacterial growth.
Dr. Mitchell Hecht is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Send questions to him at: "Ask Dr. H," P.O. Box 767787, Atlanta, GA 30076