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How's your breath? One in four Canadians has a reoccurring breath problem that will not respond to brushing, flossing, mouthwash, breathmints or dental treatment.  Some causes of chronic bad breath are medical. For instance uncontrolled diabetics may have a fruity odour on their breath, kidney problems can cause a urine like smell, liver problems may give off a fishy smell and infected teeth and/or gums emit a vicious smell.

Fortunately the prime cause of persistent bad breath is a bacterial imbalance in the mouth.  Usually the mouth is full of friendly bacteria that protect, and help maintain a healthy body. When some unfriendly bacteria predominate in the mouth the byproducts of their digestive process produce volatile sulfur compounds, hydrogen sulphide and methyl mercaptan. Stress, certain drugs, hormonal changes, chronic dry mouth, hunger or specific foods can lead to bacterial imbalance.

As  we age it is important to maintain "nutritional fitness". A balanced diet is important for proper absorption of food and an active immune system. A trace element such as zinc activates enzymes important to the immune system. Vitamin D is important for the regulation and a promotion of the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorous. Post menopausal women have an increased need for calcium to maintain skeletal growth. Xerostomia or dry mouth is not a direct consequence of the aging process but may result from factors that affect salivary secretion. Saliva lubricates the oral mucosa and plays a stimulating an central role in the prevention of bad breath. A consistent flow of saliva prevents dry mouth by flushing way food residue, dead cells, and foreign particles. Many seniors today re dependent on prescription dugs for daily living, particularly resident s living in long term care facilities. Many medications such as tranquilizers and anti anxiety pills contribute to dry mouth, and a possible bacterial imbalance. Also mouth breathing while sleeping can cause a very offensive 'morning' breath.

A client's problem is thoroughly assessed. Information is collected by determining nose and mouth odours, testing for bacterial and volatile sulphur compound levels, and examining life style habits and dietary intake. Client's follow a treatment protocol to reestablish fresh breath.