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Is Bad Breath Curable or Only Preventable?

A common question I receive is whether bad breath is curable and/or preventable. Some people believe that bad breath is only preventable by changing their oral hygiene habits. Others believe that bad breath can be cured from returning. Both groups are right, and both groups are wrong…

Is it a matter of language?

The words "cure" and "prevent" are commonly interchanged when describing bad breath remedies; however, the premise remains the same. Bad breath is curable and preventable. People’s interpretations of language vary, and some people consider the words similar; others consider them drastically different. Regardless of your perception of either word, this is not a lesson about language and semantics. Allow me to explain…

Curing and preventing bad breath...

Treating bad breath requires eliminating your current problem and preventing it from returning. As you learned in the "Myths about bad breath" article, there is not a one-time cure for bad breath; it is a matter of changing your oral hygiene habits and using the correct oral hygiene products.

Bad breath is curable, because once you adopt an effective bad breath prevention regimen, your bad breath problem will disappear. Bad breath is also preventable, because your bad breath problem will not return if you continue applying your regimen.

Who is susceptible to bad breath?

Some bad breath sufferers assume that they are more susceptible to bad breath than other people. They feel so helpless, that they convince themselves that their problem is incurable.

Honestly, most people are equally susceptible to bad breath. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth that produce bad breath. While certain physical characteristics can complicate bad breath (such as the texture of your tongue), bad breath is not hereditary, incurable or unpreventable for any person. True halitosis exists when a person produces a foul odor from their oral or nasal regions.

Halitosis sufferers seem unable to eliminate the smell – even by using normal oral hygiene techniques, recommended by their dentists. The occasional "morning breath" most people experience is not really true halitosis, but it can be just as disastrous and it should be treated similarly. If you suffer from bad breath, you know how much it negatively impacts your life. It may make you feel too embarrassed to socially interact or even mention your problem to your physician or doctor.

You can dress perfectly for an important interview or upcoming occasion. Maybe you select a special outfit and/or gift - or you just plan something special for the occasion. You take a shower and follow your typical routine – including brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash. Maybe you carry breath mints, just as a precaution, to take just before such an occasion - but what if it is a surprise? What if your boss calls you into his or her office unexpectedly? What if… unfortunately… you are not even slightly aware of your problem? This situation can ruin any impression you are trying to cast, or special event you are trying to share!

A person can attend an interview or meeting dressed to kill, or a formal dinner dressed like a model; however, if this offensive smell permeates the air… it takes over!

Remember, you can cure and prevent bad breath!

- By Paul J. Heldt (With contributions from Katherine D. Flood)