Scent is said to be the strongest sense tied to memory, and your breath is one of the first things someone smells when they meet you. Good-smelling breath is great, but no scent at all is certainly better than an unfortunate condition known to many of us; bad breath. Clinically known as halitosis, bad breath can be caused by many different factors. Luckily there are a variety of ways to keep your breath fresh.
How to Keep Your Breath Fresh: 11 Tips From Dentists
1. Brushing and Flossing
As you might expect, diligent brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep your breath fresh. Bad breath occurs when bacteria builds up, and brushing and flossing are the two best ways to eliminate these bacteria. Brushing once in the morning and once at night, and flossing once at night will help to keep your breath fresh. If bad breath is persistent, you might also incorporate some shorter brushing sessions after meals.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water while eating food or drinking other beverages reduces the build-up of sugars, which bacteria feed on. Drinking water while you eat and drink other beverages also reduces staining on your teeth. As we know, drinking water has numerous other health benefits, like cushioning joints and eliminating toxins. And, at home or at restaurants, it’s free! There’s no reason not to drink this simple but highly beneficial beverage.
3. Chew Sugar-free Gum
Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, which can help to wash away bacteria and stop bad breath. Use a sugar-free variety, since bacteria feed on sugars in other gum that will stick to your teeth. Peppermint, cinnamon and other fresh, clean scents will also mask any lingering bad odors. However, if you have jaw pain or you are prone to teeth-grinding, try a different solution, as gum chewing can worsen jaw pain.
4. Use a Travel Kit
If you often travel, whether by car, plane, or some other means, keep a small toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste in your bag or in your car. Skipping a brushing session allows bacteria to multiply, producing acids that damage your teeth and create bad breath. All you need for a quick brush is your travel kit and a bottle of water.
5. Don’t Smoke
Just as the beneficial effects of drinking water are well-known, so are the many detrimental effects of smoking. The toxic and cancer-causing compounds in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes and e-cigarettes cause gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth lesions, all which contribute to bad breath. The dry, warm smoke also causes dry mouth, another issue leading to bad breath. Finally, the scent of the products themselves linger, adding to the problem.
6. Avoid Certain Foods
Garlic and onions aren’t the only foods causing bad breath. While these pungent foods will leave a lingering odor, others foods that are high in sugar will also cause bacteria to proliferate, which worsens bad breath. Sugary drinks and candy are two of the most common high-sugar items bacteria love. Avoid these foods, or drink water while you enjoy them, and you can keep your breath fresh.
7. Use Sugar-Free Hard Candies
Just like sugar-free chewing gum, sugar-free hard candies increase saliva production, which helps to keep breath fresh. Since they are sugar-free, they won’t leave behind sugary residue for bacteria to feed on. If you have jaw pain, this will probably be a better alternative to gum.
8. Eat Good-Smelling Foods
Foods with strong, good smells will linger in similar ways that garlic and onion do, and these foods can also help to mask bad breath, even if they do not stop the cause. Mint, rosemary, cinnamon, anise and parsley are a few naturally good-smelling herbs and spices you can chew after a meal that won’t leave behind sugary, bacteria-causing residue.
9. Use Mouthwash
If bad breath is particularly problematic for you, but brushing after meals isn’t really realistic, mouthwash is a fast and easy alternative. Rinse for just 30 seconds after meals to keep your breath fresh. If dry mouth is part of the problem causing bad breath, avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide, as this will worsen dry mouth. If the expense of mouthwash starts to add up, you can even make your own mouthwash out of water and baking soda.
10. Identify Causes of Bad Breath
All of the previous solutions will help to keep your mouth fresh, bad breath will keep coming back as long as the cause is still there. Dry mouth is one of the biggest causes of bad breath. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications, such as those used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, hypertension and more. If this is the cause of your bad breath, the simplest treatment is lots of water and good dental hygiene.
11. See Your Dentist
Bad breath can also be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, lesions, infections, oral cancer, and other dental health problems. If you have persistent bad breath, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will not only help to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh, but they can also identify and fix any other health problems causing bad breath.
If you find bad breath to be a persistent problem and you are located in Las Vegas, Henderson or Laughlin, Nevada, or Lake Havasu, Arizona, we suggest that you schedule an appointment at one of Boston Dental Groups 20 dental offices. Include your breath-specific concern in your comments, and we may be able to help in assessing and improving your breath concerns.
Our experienced professionals are happy to give you more information about your appointment or any other questions you may have.