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Feb 142014
 

According to Medical News Today, 1 in 4 people globally have bad breath. This makes bad breath a relatively common problem most of us have probably experienced. We asked our dentists what causes bad breath and what you can do to get it under control. Our team have summarised their 10 top tips for you.

What is bad breath?

Bad breath is a commonly occurring health problem. The medical term for it is halitosis. Bad breath is usually the result of poor oral health habits, but it may also be a sign of other health problems.

To find out if you have halitosis, you can ask a close relative or friend to give you feedback on your breath. You can also do a self-test to determine whether you have bad breath. Just lick the back of your hand, leave it to dry, and smell it. If there is a bad small around the back of your hand afterwards, you may have halitosis.

 

Where does bad breath come from?

Bad breath can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of them are easy to control, others can be only identified after seeing a dentist or a physician, make sure to make a control appointment at least every 6 months, I fully suggest working with professional like this Omaha family dentist. The most common reasons for bad breath are:

Food

The main reason for bad breath is the breakdown process of food particles in the mouth. After eating, food leftovers can be stuck to the teeth, gums, and tongue. Bacteria breaks the food particles down and produces sulphur compounds which give your breath a foul odour.

Some foods such as onions, garlic, or spices can furthermore cause bad breath by entering your bloodstream. After digestion, the smell of foods you digest can carry to your lungs. This means you can smell certain foods for a long time after consumption and they continue to affect your breath.

Diets focusing on the intake of healthy fats and fasting can also cause bad breath. This is due to the breakdown of ketones which are fats producing chemicals and have a strong odour.

Poor oral hygiene habits

Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and daily flossing are essential to remove food particles from teeth, gums, and your tongue. When they are not brushed away, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque forms on your teeth which will cause bad breath.

If plaque builds up over a longer timeframe, it can form pockets between your teeth and gums and lead to periodontitis. Your tongue can also trap bacteria. For this reason, it is important to clean your tongue as well.

Dry mouth

Saliva is the body’s natural way to clean the mouth. If the mouth is naturally dry (after sleeping, for example) or dry due to a disease, odours can build up causing bad breath. The consumption of alcohol and smoking also dehydrate the mouth. If you continuously have a dry mouth, please discuss this issue with your doctor or dentist.

 

Tips for bad breath

Having bad breath can be embarrassing and even lead to anxiety. However, some easy tips and tricks can help you to keep your breath nice and fresh. We asked our dentists for their top tips to avoid bad breath.

1. Brushing

Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush to remove food debris and plaque. Remember to also brush your tongue to remove bacteria. Change your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 2 to 3 months and after being ill.

2. Flossing

Dental floss or interdental brushes help you reach spaces your toothbrush can’t clean such as the small gaps between your teeth and your gumline. Use floss or an interdental cleaner once daily to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth. You can learn more about how to floss in our blog post.

3. Mouthwash

Antibacterial mouthwashes can help to reduce bacteria in your mouth. If you are not sure which mouth rinse to buy, ask your dentist at your next visit. They would be more than happy to recommend one for you.

4. Healthy diet

A diet rich in foods which needs to be chewed for a long time (such as carrots and apples) are a great way to increase saliva production in the mouth. Products high in sugar, alcohol and coffee, however, can cause bad breath. Try to limit your intake of these products to avoid halitosis.

5. Quit smoking

Smoking and chewing tobacco lead to an unpleasant mouth odour. It also reduces saliva production which can result in a dry mouth. This makes smokers more prone to develop gum disease which is another source of bad breath.

6. Drink water

Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Chewing sugarless chewing gum can also help to stimulate the saliva production.

7. Check medications

Some medications can reduce saliva and, therefore, contribute to a dry mouth and bad breath. Others break down in the body and release chemicals in the breath which cause a foul odour.

8. Clean dentures

Food particles and bacteria can get stuck in between and under dentures. It is essential to take a denture out over night and to clean it thoroughly before reinserting it into the mouth the next morning.

9. Check your mouth for diseases and decay

Tooth decay, periodontitis and other diseases of the mouth can lead to bad breath. Make sure to see a dentist if you experience a tooth ache, bleeding gums, or swelling in your mouth.

10. Regular dental visits

6-monthly dental check-up and cleans will help you to remove built-up plaque and identify any problems early on. Your dentist will also be able to answer any questions about flossing, dry mouth, or preferred toothpastes and mouthwash. Learn more about why it is important to see the dentist regularly.

Jan 252012
 

ambergris 192x259All natural aromatic substances that exist in Nature have a purpose other than to smell good in perfumes.  In the case of ambergris, it is produced in the stomach of the sperm whale, where it serves to protect the intestinal lining against the tough, horned snout of cuttlefish, a kind of squid that the whale swallows whole.  All very practical, as we most assuredly find in Nature.  While most teach that it is secreted as vomit, some argue that it also passes through the feces. Some, especially commercial, American perfumers usually avoid it because of legal ambiguities. It was banned from use in many countries in the 1970s, including the United States, because its precursor originates from the sperm whale, which is an endangered species.

Historically, it was considered the second most treasured commodity to come from the sea, second to pearls.   After being excreted by the whale, it would be collected from the surface of the ocean near the islands of Sumatra, Molucca and Madagascar, and was referred to as “the gold of the ocean”.   The hardened shape, resembling fossilized lumps of amber (albeit grey in color), thus derived the name “grey amber” or ambergris.  It is a known fact that certainlate twelfth century incense burner 308x163 kinds of ambergris are known to float in the ocean for up to a hundred years. Ancient Egyptians burned ambergris as incense, while in modern Egypt ambergris is used for scenting cigarettes.

We humans have chosen to not fully embrace our own animalistic odor and instead we mask it with myriad smelly cover-ups.  Probably originating in hygiene and sexual modesty that ultimately fevered the Puritanical movement.   The enigma that we are drawn to smells that reflect our deeper centers of pleasure and love perfumes rich in products of animal origin (any animal other than human, that is) only confirms what complex and contradictory beings we are, especially when it comes to sexuality.  It is true that those perfumes with a ‘hidden’  pungency, unidentified intellectually in our awareness, are extremely popular.

Avery Gilbert challenges us to  stop randomly studying aromatic molecules in the laboratory and to “start observing odor fluency where it happens naturally.”  He reminds us that Charles Darwin was a “careful observer” and “attuned to smell”.  In Darwin’s words (speaking of the musk deer, another animalic odor): “On the banks of the Plata, I have perceived the whole air tainted with the odor of the male Cervus campestris, at the distance of half a mile to leeward of  a herd.”  Darwin recorded odors, along with other facts like species, place and time.  I mention this because I, like many of you, struggle with adequate descriptors for odors and Avery makes a perfect case for getting out in Nature herself as it might serve both perfumer and writer.  Since I, also, cannot disconnect my work with aromatics from the importance and joy of relating to unabashed Nature, I very much like the way he thinks in this regard.

Pomade 155x297One of the earliest devices for enjoying aromatics in the fourteenth century actually derives its name from ambergris.  The ornately designed apple-shaped globe, sometimes decorated with gold and silver, with small individual sections held together with hinges was called a pomander, from the French pomme d’ ambre or apple of ambergris.  Originally, a simple, but pungent rolled ball of ambergris  would suffice, but art emergedpomade open 293x299 to house the scent, like this lovely ornamented creation pictured here.  The chambers were filled with scented paste and powder, using beeswax and other aromatics, each chamber sometimes housing a different odor.  Aristocrats of both sexes would carry these devices to occasionally sniff to ward off the malodorous smells of the street.  Larger ones were attached by a chain to the belt or worn around the neck and smaller ones, no larger than a thimble, were connected by a tiny chain to a finger ring.

During the Renaissance, the “girdle” (not to be confused with the modern-day “corset”)The History of Jewellery was an important accessory made of leather, textile or flat metal chain that formed a belt-like strap worn diagonally along the waistline, draping from just above the hip on the right, downward to the left thigh. The girdle was typically accessorized with items like a purse, keys, knives, lockets, girdle books, decorative bangles, or a pomander.  The bangles or pendants (just as the pomanders themselves) could be bejeweled, enameled, or decorated with cameos, and were fastened to the girdle with equally decorative clasps. Of course, it was also one of those perfumed fallacies that the pomander would keep one from getting the plague.

The early gastronomer Brillat-Savarin created a recipe for ambergris-laced chocolate in 1826, perhaps for the tables of Casanova, Madame DuBarry and Madame de Pompadour. And, Nostradamus believed the chewing of lumps of ambergris could increase the production of seminal fluid.  Jean Paul Guerlain observed that ambergris “was to perfume creation what cream is to haute cuisine: an exquisite binding agent.” Since we find in history the use of ambergris as a spice in food, his observation is more than metaphorical. Musk and ambergris notes in perfume composition are of great significance and are a used in the composition to produce a sense of pleasure via ancient neural pathways without so much as a conscious thought as to the true nature of the stimulus.

Chinese pomander_181x285Since we are in the middle of celebrating the Chinese New Year, it is worth mentioning that the Chinese considered ambergris to be a potent aphrodisiac. The ancient Chinese called the substance “dragon’s spittle fragrance”, lending yet another allusion to the current Chinese Year of the Dragon.  The early Chinese also used their version of pomanders like this small one pictured.

In the eighteenth century, it was made into one of those “single-note” perfumes, like jasmine and neroli.

Styles and attitudes change and during the Restoration and into the later years encompassing the July Monarchy animalic scents fell into disfavor.   The more erotic scents began to be replaced with less controversial floral and herbaceous compositions.  Women became more worried about “being provocative”.   The newspaper Les Messager des odes et de l’industrie from 1853 identifies ambergris as “the primary perfume ingredient for women of easy virtue (cocettes) . . . and in the decade just preceding the Revolution, Mercier, the chronicler of social customs wrote that the decline of favorability for scented gloves was due to their “violent odor.”  Ultimately, strong animalic scents were banned and only worn by women of questionable morals.

Septimus Piesse, the early nineteenth century chemist-perfumer, lamented that the scent of ambergris “clings pertinaciously to woven fabrics and is still found in the material after passing through the lavoratory ordeal” by which he no doubt means washing of clothes. I would argue that Piesse exaggerated somewhat and that one must always consider the final odor note in a composition after the melding of all others, as well as all other variables when evaluating the odor of an aromatic ingredient of natural origin.

In perfumery, it is the finest of all fixatives and will delay the volatility of other scented ingredients in a composition.  It is one of those perfume substances that sometimes draws revulsion when one learns of its origin, however, in the raw it actually has a relatively mild odor –  marine, slightly fecal, reminiscent of balsamic leather with a slight wet, sour aspect.  And, of course, we must keep in mind that odor can differ greatly from one batch to the next depending on the origin,  age and processing method to obtain a perfume ingredient.

At Samara Botane, when we have the material available, we make a strong alcohol tincture using a Soxhlet extraction procedure which can then be diluted to the perfumer’s preference. This process produces ambrox and ambrinol, which are the main odor components of ambergris.  In perfumes, once married to other notes, ambergris becomes quite warm, earthy and velvety.  Some natural perfumers who wish to steer clear of animal ingredients,  appear to get an ambergris doppelganger by combining labdanum, olibanum and vanilla.

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