Tips on How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
Bad breath is not just a major turn off, it also signals poor oral health. Below are ways on how to remove bad breath quickly, naturally, and at home.
1. Clean your mouth thoroughly and regularly.
Two major sources of mouth odor are bacteria and decaying food particles. There are hundreds of nooks and crannies in the fertile landscape of your mouth where these offending bits of “rot” can get lodged. Brushing is not enough.
- Clean your tongue – gently and carefully. Your tongue, unfortunately, is like a shaggy carpet where all kinds of smelly stuff can hide. At least once per week, when you brush your teeth (which should be at least twice a day): Use your toothbrush, the edge of a spoon, or a tongue cleaner to gently “scrape” your tongue.
- If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you might not like this task. You need to clean your entire tongue, including the part close to your tonsils.
- Floss. Make it as much of a mindless habit as brushing your teeth. At first, your gums might bleed as you dislodge chunks of food that have “stuck” to your teeth and gum for who knows how long. But take a second to smell the floss after you pass it through your teeth, if you dare. You’ll see (or smell) where the bad breath is coming from.
- Use mouthwash. Mouthwash helps to keep your mouth moist and helps prevent bad breath.
2. Keep your mouth moisturized.
A dry mouth is a stinky mouth. That’s why your breath is worse in the morning; your mouth produces less saliva as you sleep. Saliva is the enemy of bad breath because not only does it physically wash bacteria and food particles away, it also has antiseptic and enzymes that kill bacteria.
- Chewing gum stimulates saliva production (in addition to covering up the odor with some scent).
- Drink water. Swish the water between your teeth from side to side. Water won’t necessarily increase saliva production, but it’ll wash out your mouth–and it’s good for you.
- Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications and medical conditions. Ask your doctor about addressing the underlying condition.
3. Choose your gum carefully.
As mentioned in the previous step, any gum will help with bad breath because the chewing action results in more saliva being produced. Some gums, however, have better bad-breath-fighting abilities than others:
- Cinnamon flavored gums seem to be especially effective in reducing bacteria count in your mouth.
- Look for gum sweetened with xylitol. For one thing, sugar’s not good for your mouth. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that actually works to prevent bacteria from replicating in the mouth.
4. Eat a banana.
You probably already know to avoid notorious stinky foods like onions, garlic, cheeses, and coffee, but did you know that if you’re on a low-carb diet, you might have “ketone breath”?B asically, as your body breaks down fats instead of carbs for energy, it creates ketones, some of which are released in your mouth. Unfortunately, ketones smell bad, and so will your breath. If you’re on a strict carb-restricting diet, or any diet that forces you to burn fat instead of carbs, consider throwing healthy carb-rich snacks into the mix, like apples or bananas.
- This will also typically happen to anyone who fasts.
5. Talk to a doctor.
If you’ve followed the above steps diligently and the bad breath persists, you may have an underlying medical issue that needs to be treated. Here are some of the potential culprits:
- Tonsil stones. These are lumps of calcified food, mucus, and bacteria that appear as white spots on your tonsils. If seen, they can be mistaken for a throat infection, although sometimes they are not visible to the naked eye. You might also notice a metallic taste in your mouth, and/or pain when swallowing.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis. If you have diabetes, it may be causing your body to burn fat instead of glucose, creating the ketone breath referred to in the previous step. This is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately.
- Trimethylaminuria. If your body can’t break down the chemical called trimethylamine, it will be released in your saliva, causing bad breath. It’ll also be released in your sweat, so persistent body odor might be an accompanying symptom.
- Use breath spray or mints before meeting with people.
- Chew gum after eating.
- Gargle with salt water morning and evening after you brush.
- Try to brush after every meal.
- Apples will help, and it will get the food that is stuck in your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush as soon as it starts wearing out.
- Mouthwash- at least once a day. Brush- twice a day. Floss-twice a day. Drink water- 6-8 glasses a day.
- Always carry a pack of dental floss on the go.
- Flossing is just as important as brushing. You may also try to find temporary dental floss.
- Apple cider vinegar can help with bad breath also. Take a teaspoon full before brushing and rinsing with mouth wash.
- Use lemon juice to rinse your mouth before rinsing with water or mouth wash.
- Sometimes bad breath is caused by any of several medical conditions. See your doctor if you are concerned, or if it persists.
- Beware of gum with xylitol if you have pets – it can be toxic to dogs.
- Caution: Never final rinse your mouth with acid products such as vinegar or lemon juice.
- “Deep pockets” form around the base of the teeth that are “not” flossed regularly; these are full of decaying food particles and germs that cause bad breath–and can lead to abscessed teeth (painful, infected gums).
- Avoid tooth loss: Get teeth cleaned, preferably, every 6 months (or at least once a year, if it costs too much). This will prevent accumulation of calculus or tartar (a form of hardened dental plaque) and other minerals (from your own saliva) accumulating and hardening the plaque on your teeth. Those deposits chip away at the attachment between the gums and teeth, and over the years, cause more and more teeth to loosen as well as cause abscesses.
Adapted from How to Get Rid of Bad Breath.