Laser Away Bad Breath

We're all anxious about our breath from time to time, especially after eating a particularly pungent meal, but those who suffer from chronic bad breath may not even realize they have it. "It's difficult to do a self-test for your breath," says Detroit, MI, periodontist Joseph R. Nemeth, DDS. "You live with it all the time and you develop a tolerance for it."

To combat chronic bad breath that's caused by bacteria under the gums and on the tongue, Dr. Nemeth uses a three-part treatment that includes a CO2 laser to target gum-borne bacteria, and a high-powered water jet with a special tongue scraper to eliminate smelly bacteria on the surface.

"It's quite a remarkable process," he says. "After treatment, these people don't even have morning breath. It's like turning off a faucet. The bad breath is gone."

The treatment is divided into three sessions: first, testing to determine if the person actually suffers from chronic bad breath. Second, the actual procedure; and, finally, a follow-up appointment. All three can all be accomplished in a week or two. Patients are also given an at-home routine that includes a tongue scraper and a chlorine dioxide rinse to keep the bacteria at bay.

So if halitosis (rather than food- or smoking-based temporary bad breath) is hard to determine on your own, how do you know if you need to go through a bad-breath treatment? "If you ask, people are going to be reluctant to tell you that you have bad breath," Dr. Nemeth says. "If you have a five- or six-year-old, ask them. They'll tell you."

While laser gum therapy is not new, Dr. Nemeth says it's quite effective in wiping out long-standing bad breath in a one-time, pain-free treatment. With it, "You are the freshest act in town," he says.

Read more about the causes and solutions to bad breath in the Winter issue of NewBeauty, on newsstands now.

Related Links:
Your Smile: Less Gum, More Grin
How Sleep Can Make Your Breath Stink

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