No one likes bad breath. Not only is it unpleasant and embarrassing, but it usually means there’s a bigger problem inside your mouth. Causes for bad breath (also known as halitosis) can include: build-up of oral bacteria, dry mouth, gum disease and smoking. Although bad breath is a common problem among U.S. adults, it’s usually an easy fix. If you experience an ongoing odor inside your mouth, here are 10 steps you can take to beat it.
Get serious about brushing and flossing.
Plaque that builds up on and between your teeth can easily collect bacteria. These bacteria multiply and give off unpleasant smells. So without daily brushing and flossing, bacteria will linger between your teeth and on your tongue. Already brushing two times a day? You don’t have to stop there. Feel free to brush more often to combat unpleasant odors and eliminate growing bacteria.
Rinse and repeat.
Start using a good mouth wash every day. Choose a good product that gets to the source of the problem (you’ll need one that kills germs and adds extra protection from bacteria). Mouthwash is a good way to freshen your mouth if you need a quick fix – but don’t just mask the problem, make sure you also get to the root of the source.
Bad breath is just one of the many problems that comes with smoking cigarettes. Smokers breath is difficult to eliminate unless you quit smoking altogether. Keep in mind that smoking will also stain teeth, possibly cause cancer and damage your gums.
You are what you eat.
If you are worried about your breath, you may want to avoid certain foods before heading to a social setting. Onions and garlic are two foods to usually steer clear from.
“Clean” foods equal clean teeth.
Did you know there are foods that can actually clean your teeth while you eat them? Think of crisp, fresh foods like apples, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots. These foods can naturally clean the teeth. Chewing raw parsley is another good option.
Scraping your tongue, that is. You can use your toothbrush or choose to invest in an actual tongue scraper. These are designed to clean your tongue and will effectively remove food debris, dead cells and smelly bacteria.
Say no to gum disease.
It’s no surprise that gum disease will contribute to bad breath. The bacteria that lives at the base of diseased gums will create an odor and will continue to persist until healthy again. The best way to establish an oral care plan for gum disease is to see your dentist.
Chew on this.
After a meal, try chewing a stick of gum to stimulate saliva. Saliva helps protect against acids, leftover food and sugars – all of which will contribute to bad breath.
If you don’t make enough saliva, there’s a good chance that you will experience bad breath. Drink plenty of fluids, water preferably, throughout the day. Sugar free candy is another good way to moisten your mouth.
Ask your dentist.
What better person to ask, then your dentist? If your bad breath continues, we recommend making an appointment with your dental provider.