Here Are 10 Ways To Avoid Bad Breath
10 Ways To Avoid Bad Breath
Do you – or someone you know – suffer from chronic bad breath?
Maybe it’s your overbearing boss who comes into your office like clockwork after hammering down 4 cups of coffee and smoking three butts by the time your 9:50 am pre-meeting meeting takes place.
Or perhaps it’s your spouse or loved one whose morning breath seems to last all day long.
Two things about bad breath are certain:
- Nobody wants bad breath.
- Nobody wants to be the person with bad breath – without actually knowing it.
While it may be easier to tell someone you know well that they have bad breath, it’s not exactly enjoyable to be the bearer of bad news either.
So how can you avoid bad breath for yourself, or help someone you know to avoid it?
For starters, you can avoid these bad breath offenders, but there are more causes than just stinky foods.
Let’s first quickly examine what causes chronic bad breath, so you can then take the necessary steps toward avoiding it.
Without understanding the causes, you won’t be able to altogether avoid the dragon breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
In most cases, halitosis – the clinical term for chronic bad breath – can be caused by eating certain foods, poor oral hygiene, alcohol or tobacco use, dry mouth, or by certain chronic medical conditions.
Bad breath starts with the bacteria in your mouth, in fact, according to Sigmund Socransky, associate clinical professor of periodontology at Harvard, there are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people on Earth.
Having bad breath is embarrassing for anyone, but it’s a relatively common condition and there are steps you can take to both prevent and treat it.
Following these tips can help you fight bad breath when it does show up, and help you maintain optimal oral hygiene while you’re at it.
10 Keys To Avoid Bad Breath
1. Brush Your Teeth 2x a Day, for 2 Minutes
You’ve known this from childhood, brushing your teeth is the most important tasks for fending off the cavity creeps – and bad breath.
But most people don’t take the prescribed two minutes to do so. So the number one prescription to avoid bad breath is to brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time.
Most of us choose to do this daily dental hygiene first thing in the morning, and before turning in at night. The when is not as important as the how; use a soft-bristled brush and use small circular motions to gently scrub all of those chompers, your loved ones and co-workers will thank you.
2. Floss Like You’re Going to the Dentist, Every Day
Despite what the FDA says about there being no proof that flossing is effective, 5 out of 5 dentists will vehemently disagree.
Flossing helps remove leftover food particles in between teeth that your daily diligent brushing doesn’t reach, and helps prevent the plaque that forms between your teeth.
If you don’t take the time to floss and extricate that food debris from between your teeth, those 8 billion or so bacteria will start to feed on it, which will cause bad breath, and worse – cavities & gum disease will soon follow.
Nobody likes those kinds of leftovers. Floss like you mean it to avoid bad breath!
3. Brush or Scrape Your Tongue
Do you use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean your tongue? You should.
By brushing or scraping your tongue, you help remove any residue that may be lingering on the surface of your tongue.
Between a toothbrush, floss, and a tongue scraper, you can knock out the three most important steps to avoiding bad breath for around five bucks.
If you’d rather not invest in a tongue scraper, then use your toothbrush to brush your tongue after brushing your teeth.
Brushing or scraping your tongue will help you avoid bad breath.
4. Use Mouthwash or Rinse
This one is more of a quick-fix, but dentists do recommend daily rinsing as it is part of “Doing the Daily 4“ for optimal oral health.
If you do the ‘ol cupped hand to your mouth test and find your breath stinks, try some alcohol-free mouthwash, lemon juice, or some tea to help avoid your bad breath from permeating the room.
Green or black tea has also been proven to help combat bad breath.
According to the University of Illinois at Chicago, rinsing your mouth with black or green tea suppresses the growth of bacteria that cause mouth odor.
5. Chew Sugarless Gum
Speaking of “Doing the Daily 4,” don’t forget about the fourth step in that optimal oral health equation.
Chewing sugarless gum helps stimulate saliva flow in your mouth, it also helps wash away food debris and bacteria which are primary causes of bad breath.
So, Do the Daily 4 by:
Brushing for #2min2x a day.
Rinsing with mouthwash.
Chewing sugarless gum.
6. Drink Water
Proper hydration will go a long way in helping you avoid bad breath.
This is another one of those no-brainers, but also one which we don’t do enough of – like brushing for less than two minutes.
By drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of the good stuff each day, you avoid dry mouth, and in turn, bad breath.
Drinking water helps to prevent bad breath by washing away those leftover bits & pieces of food and flush those bad breath causing bacteria down the hatch.
If you have a chronic dry mouth or take certain medications that cause you to experience a dry mouth, talk to your dentist. And see step 10.
7. See Your Dentist Regularly
The best way to make sure that you’re not only preventing bad breath, but also maintaining optimal oral health is to see your dentist on the regular.
Visiting your dentist will help eliminate any potential dental health problems that could be causing bad breath in the first place.
If your dentist diagnoses something which could be caused by an oral systemic issue – like an infection – then he or she can refer you to your doctor to help treat the underlying cause of the issue.
So if you never visit the dentist, then your potential oral systemic issue never gets diagnosed – or treated – and as a result, you’re not avoiding bad breath!
8. Suck On a Lemon or Munch on an Apple
This one is more of an on-the-spot way to avoid bad breath when you don’t necessarily have access to your toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, or sugarless gum.
Did you know that sucking a lemon can help combat bad breath? How about that apples are toothbrush foods?
The lemon tactic seems pretty obvious enough, given its strong fragrance.
Apples and even cruciferous vegetables like carrots and celery are packed with water, this helps to increase the flow of saliva in your mouth and wash away those pesky food particles leftover from that all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.
These tooth-scrubbing snacks can also help you combat bad breath that could be caused by being hangry – or an eating disorder.
Fasting is not part of a healthy diet, and it can cause bad breath too, because the acids in your empty stomach will make their way up your esophagus and out of your mouth.
9. Don’t Smoke or Chew Tobacco
As if you really need to hear that smoking is bad for you, or how chewing tobacco is a leading cause of oral cancer.
Both smoking and smokeless tobacco use not only lead to what you already know, they also cause bad breath. This has to be on of the easiest ways to avoid bad breath.
So…if you don’t want your mouth to smell like an ashtray, or a tin of Copenhagen, just don’t do it!
10. Check Your Meds
With what we know about how oral health affects overall health – and vice versa – a check with your doctor rounds out this list of ways to combat bad breath.
Some medications can cause a dry mouth condition, known as xerostomia, which in turn can lead to chronic bad breath.
Antihistamines, opioids, blood pressure meds, and acid-reflux (GERD) medications can all cause this dry mouth condition.
By no means take that as a complete list of common medications that cause xerostomia – or dry mouth. To avoid this, and the associated chronic bad breath, talk with your doctor about any medications you’re taking.
And if you’re not taking any medications, there’s an even better reason to talk with your doctor, chronic dry mouth & halitosis could be symptoms of an underlying issue.
Oral health is overall health, talking with your dentist & your doctor will ensure your mouth and your body are both in tip-top shape!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.