Few things are more embarrassing than having bad breath. But combating those offensive odors in your mouth can be more of a challenge than you first anticipate. So how can you be sure your breath will always smell fresh and clean, and won’t cause people to take a step back when they’re talking to you? Check out the easy bad breath fighting tips below to get started.
The Foundation: Brushing and Flossing Every Day
Okay, we know this first tip is pretty obvious, but one of the main ways to stop bad breath in its tracks is by simply brushing and flossing every day. Experts recommend that you brush at least twice a day, and for about two minutes each time. Also, floss at least once a day, but you can get even better results if you floss after each meal.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that neglecting this basic cleaning routine will result in food particles staying in your mouth, leading to offensive breath. Yuck! But the good news is that just brushing and flossing can cut down on bacteria, food particles, and plaque, while also fighting periodontal disease that causes bad breath.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Tongue!
Bad breath doesn’t just come from your teeth and gums; it can also originate from compounds that are basically a combination of amino acids and bacteria. These compounds can be found on your tongue, and they smell nasty. So in addition to brushing and flossing, you can use your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner to gently scrape your tongue and freshen it right up.
Rinse and Repeat
A therapeutic mouthwash could be really helpful when it comes to overcoming bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of with just brushing and flossing. Rinsing your mouth before or after your brushing routine, or even after each meal, is a good way to inhibit plaque and help prevent problems like gingivitis and dry mouth. Plus, that minty freshness will help make your mouth feel clean in between brushings.
Want to go au naturel? Try rinsing your mouth with a few drops of natural peppermint oil mixed in water. Or rinse your mouth with tea. A study found that rinsing the mouth with green tea or black tea might help to inhibit bacterial growth that leads to bad breath. Who knew?
Rinsing to no avail? Then your bad breath might be caused by something more serious, so you should see your dentist to figure out whether there’s tooth decay, gum disease, or even tonsil stones to blame. Plus, when there are other problems causing halitosis, a mouthwash might only end up irritating oral tissues and causing your breath to worsen.
Eating and Drinking for Fresher Breath
Did you know that staying hydrated and eating right can help prevent bad breath?
- Drink water throughout the day to keep bad breath away by essentially moisturizing your mouth and rinsing away debris. If you suffer from dry mouth, drinking plenty of water is even more important. But even if you don’t have dry mouth, drinking water after you exercise, during and after meals, and when you wake up will help keep your breath fresh.
- Here are a few of the foods that you should avoid if you want to prevent bad breath: garlic, raw onions, high-sugar foods like cereals, and acidic foods like vinegar. After all, sugars and acids will boost the bacteria count in your mouth, and that bacteria will stink.
- Foods that can help to naturally reduce the occurrence of bad breath include whole grains, orange veggies, dark green veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, and beans. That’s because these foods can enhance saliva flow in the mouth, preventing dryness and helping to keep the mouth free of food debris.
- Fresh veggies and fruits, particularly those that are crispy, can help to boost saliva production and flow, inhibiting bad breath by naturally cleansing the mouth. So if you want to have a snack, consider munching on some carrots or apples, as a couple of examples.
- Here’s another interesting fact: fasting, along with hunger, can also cause bad breath. Rather than originating in your mouth, bad breath that’s associated with not eating is actually caused by acids building up in your stomach. Okay, gross. So go ahead and use that as an excuse to enjoy some snacks in between meals. But keep them healthy, like the crispy veggies and fruits mentioned above.
- Chewing on some sugarless gum (keyword: sugarless) or indulging in some sugarless candy can—you guessed it—also spur on the production and flow of saliva in the mouth. Think of saliva as your body’s tool for washing away bacteria and debris that could lead to bad breath, so popping a sugar-free mint in your mouth can not only mask the odor but also actually help get rid of it.
Smoking and Bad Breath Go Hand in Hand
Do you still smoke? If so, here’s another great reason to ditch this unhealthy habit: your bad breath could be caused by your cigarettes.
Tobacco can dry out the mouth, and the smoke you inhale has an offensive odor of its own. This combination could cause bad breath to hang around even if you brush and floss daily. So the best way to freshen your breath—and reduce the odds that you will develop other oral health issues that can arise from smoking—is to seek help so you can quit for good.
Make a Date with Your Dentist
Because there are dental and gum ailments that could lead to chronic bad breath, and because there are also systemic issues that could be causing your halitosis, seeing your dentist on a regular basis is really important. In addition to cleaning your teeth and gums, your dentist will be able to thoroughly examine your mouth to find the cause of your halitosis and prescribe the appropriate solutions so you won’t have to be embarrassed by bad breath anymore.
So there you have it. By following a few simple steps in your everyday routine, you can prevent bad breath and have the confidence to not only show off your smile, but also speak your mind, however close you are to the person next to you.