Bad breath is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a person socially. It’s right up there with forgetting what you had planned to say during a big speech and burping in a crowded elevator.
Although bad breath isn’t unavoidable in all cases, there are ways you can put a stop to it, fast. The next time bad breath strikes, think about what might be causing it and give one of these tips a try.
1. Brush and Floss Your Teeth
A clean mouth is a fresh mouth! If bacteria and food particles are building up on your teeth and gums, it’s likely to affect your breath. Getting into the habit of regularly brushing your teeth (at least twice a day) and flossing (at least once a day) will help to improve the scent of your breath and give you a boost of confidence.
Another thing to keep in mind when brushing your teeth: The age of your toothbrush. If your brush has seen better days and it’s all worn out, it’s time to change it up. Switch to a new brush and get in the habit of changing out your toothbrush at least once every three months.
2. Drink Some Water
When your mouth is dry, you might also have bad breath. Your mouth needs saliva to rinse away bacteria and debris from the surface of your teeth, gums, and tongue. When there’s not enough saliva, bacteria can run rampant, contributing to bad breath.
If you’re concerned that dry mouth is an ongoing issue, it can be a good idea to speak with your dentist to get to the bottom of the issue. In the meantime, taking a few sips of water can help to moisten your mouth and minimize bad breath.
3. Brush Your Tongue
You’ve probably heard that you should brush your teeth over and over. But another part of your mouth — your tongue — needs regular brushing, too. Brushing your tongue removes odor-causing bacteria and debris from its surface. You can purchase a specially designed tongue scraper to do the job or use a regular toothbrush.
4. Use Mouthwash
While rinsing your mouth with a minty mouthwash won’t cure bad breath or keep it from coming back, it can work in a pinch. If you find yourself in need of freshening up, swishing with mouthwash for 30 seconds can be all you need.
5. Eat an Apple or Carrot
Apples, carrots, and celery are often called “nature’s toothbrushes” for a reason. They’re crunchy and abrasive and do a pretty good job of scrubbing any food bits and bacteria from the surface of your teeth. They also help stimulate saliva production, which can also help to rinse away bacteria or debris.
6. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing some sugar-free gum when you feel that your breath isn’t as fresh as you’d like it to be can help in a couple of ways. First, the action of chewing the gum stimulates saliva flow, rinsing away anything unpleasant. Second, the gum is likely to be mint- or cinnamon-flavored, which can create a more pleasant scent in your mouth.
7. Quit Smoking
This last tip isn’t necessarily a “quick” one, but it’s a good one to try if you’re interested in improving your overall health, as well as the health of your teeth and gums. Smoking or using tobacco products can contribute to bad breath as well as increase your risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.
Quitting can be easier said than done, but there are resources available to help you. Your dentist can point you in the direction of smoking cessation programs and can be a supportive ear as you work through it.
What else can you do to fight back against bad breath? Your dentist can help you figure out what’s going on with your mouth and provide advice on what you can do to make it as healthy and fresh as possible.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area offering patients custom treatment plans. He can recommend options that work for you and your needs. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 today.