20 Ways to Overcome Bad Breath
Bad breath can be embarrassing, but it’s common and often easy to treat. The only way to treat bad breath is to reduce, remove, or kill the halitosis bacteria. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to treat bad breath. If you have chronic bad breath, you should see your dentist or doctor for a diagnosis.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is caused by bacteria, scientifically known as halitosis. There are many factors that increase the number of bacteria in your mouth, including poor oral hygiene, poor eating habits, and more. Below are a few different ways to help fight bad breath and care for your oral hygiene.
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1. Brush Your Teeth
One of the solutions to bad breath may be the most obvious of them all. The simple dental hygiene technique of brushing one’s teeth with a decent toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste should solve most causes of bad breath. As long as one is thorough with their brush to ensure that not only the teeth are sparkling white, but also that their tongue and the roof of their mouth is cleaned as well. Brushing twice a day for at least two to three minutes each time should keep your mouth healthy and your breath nice and fresh.
By now, we’re probably sounding a lot like your dentist. And you probably roll your eyes and nod your head when they suggest you floss more too, but it turns out flossing can really help the process of eliminating bad breath. Just as rotten food can make your refrigerator smell bad, so can the bits of it that get stuck between your teeth, which consequently contaminates your gums and can lead to halitosis. Flossing twice a day is a great way to get rid of all that extra gunk, which, alongside other methods found on this list, will ensure not only better breath but a brighter smile!
3. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash may seem like the quick solution for good dental hygiene, but it’s no substitute for brushing and flossing. However, it can be extremely effective in helping to reduce bad breath when paired with brushing, as Listerine mouthwash solutions fight bacteria that cause bad breath and often leave a mint scent in its place. Additionally, mouthwash can help to protect your teeth and tongue from acids produced by plaque that also contribute to bad breath.
4. Eat Healthy
What you eat can contribute to the aroma of your breath. Eating a lot of sugary or acidic foods can result in the breaking down of tooth enamel. That, in turn, that cause a higher production of bacteria to grow, and that bacteria will result in bad breath. What can you do to stop this? Try to reduce the consumption of foods with artificial sugars and increase consumption of foods with base compositions, like pears, especially when eating or drinking something acidic. Generally speaking, working towards improving your diet will result in improving your dental hygiene. In particular, opt for fibrous, crunchy fruits and vegetables often as they can help to clean and scrub the plaque and bacteria away that causes bad breath.
5. Stop Smoking
Scientists and activists all over the world have shared their concerns about the many negative effects that smoking can have on one’s body. One of the more prevalent examples of those effects is smoker’s breath. Smoking can produce a great deal of oral hygienic problems, as the smoker’s mouth is the first to experience the full force of the burnt tar and tobacco, and can result in stained teeth, gum disease, and throat cancer. If you smoke, the best thing you can do to stop bad breath is to quit smoking. Not only will it help you achieve a fresher's mouth, it will also help you to achieve a healthier body overall.
6. Drink Water
Does that morning breath stick around with you all day? Maybe you’re not drinking enough water. Water is a great and natural way to help keep bad breath at bay. A simple solution to washing away food particles and bacteria, by drinking water. Water can neutralize bacteria as well, even neutralizing both sugars and acids that contribute to bad breath. Not to mention that water will also increase saliva production, also help to control bad breath and plaque.
7. See Your Dentist Regularly
No one knows more about your mouth than your dentist. Educated as they are, they are most qualified to put you on the right path towards excellent oral hygiene and clean, fresh breath. It’s important to visit your dentist biannually for both checkups and cleanings. Even if you brush and floss twice a day, every day, you should still visit your dentist. They can detect problems before they begin, improve your daily routine, and make informed recommendations that work for you.
8. Eat Fibrous Foods
Fibrous foods are not only good for digestion, but they’re also good for your teeth. Fibrous foods, such as celery, are good for teeth because it can help to scrub away plaque, which causes bad breath, as it is formed by and composed of bacteria. There are lots of fibrous foods to choose from, especially raw and fresh vegetables or fruit.
9. Drink Black and Green Teas
The drink may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does help to protect you from bad breath by killing bacteria. It not on freshens breath but helps to fight infection and bacteria too. In particular, green and black teas work to stop bad breath in its tracks by inhibiting bacteria growth. This is because teas contain polyphenols, which are antioxidizing and protect human cells from damage while decreasing bacteria growth by over 30%. Also, black tea, in particular, contains polyphenols that suppress bad breath, and the associated pathogens, protecting your oral and overall health.
10. Chew Gum
Chewing gum is nice, quick fix to bad breath, and especially if you need something to help you out on the go. Gum for breath control comes in many different flavors, and often comes sugar-free! However, chewing gum isn’t just good for your breath because of the flavoring that masks bad breath, it also helps to increase saliva production. Saliva helps to wash away plaque and food particles, as well as neutralizing acids and sugars, which contribute to bad breath and lead to cavities. Just make sure to chew with your mouth closed.
11. Scrape Your Tongue
Halitosis bacteria thrives everywhere in your mouth and causes bad breath, which includes your tongue. Your tongue, just like your teeth and gums, should be cleaned every day and may be the cause of your bad breath. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. You can clean your tongue with your toothbrush, or you can use a specialized tongue brush, designed for cleaning your tongue specifically. You should remember to not to scrub too hard, though, as this can lead to scratching the tongue’s surface and tastebuds.
12. Limit Dairy In Your Diet
Dairy is a big part of a healthy diet, but it has its downsides. One of the downsides is that dairy products can cause bad breath. This happens a couple of ways. The first way bad breath can happen is by feeding halitosis bacteria. Drinking milk or consuming dairy gives oral bacteria something to digest, giving off an unpleasant, sulfur smell sometimes described as ‘milk breath’. The second-way dairy can cause bad breath is less common, and caused by a deficiency in the ability to process dairy and sugar, a minor intolerance, solved by opting for dairy alternatives.
13. Decrease Consumption of Products with Alcohol
People who drink alcohol regularly, especially alcoholics, often suffer from bad breath. This is caused by the way the body deals with alcoholic substances. The body treats alcohol like a toxin, so it converts it to a less harmful chemical, acetic acid which is associated with bad odor. Different types of alcohol will cause varying degrees of bad breath, and but liqueurs tend to be the worst for causing bad breath, often attributed to the higher sugar content.
Another way alcohol can cause bad breath is through dehydration. When you consume alcohol, your body become dehydrated and your saliva production decreases. This prevents your mouth from naturally being cleansed and protected against bad breath, worsening the situation. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid alcohol completely, just enjoy in moderation.
14. Take Probiotics
When we think of probiotics, we often think of digestive health, but probiotics are good for oral health and preventing bad breath too. Probiotics can help to reduce halitosis bacteria, which causes bad breath, along with providing many other health benefits. In fact, some people naturally have beneficial bacteria in the mouth, which is why probiotics are good for bad breath since probiotics will only reduce bad breath causing bacteria.
15. Take Dietary Supplements
Just like with probiotics, dietary supplements can help with bad breath as well, in particular, zinc supplements. Zinc can help lead to a bacteria-free, clean mouth. Zinc is antibacterial, which is why it is often found in mouthwashes and other oral care products. Zinc helps bad breath because it is antimicrobial, meaning that it neutralizes harmful bacteria. Zinc also helps to speed the healing process, providing immunity, and decrease inflammation, leading to an overall healthier mouth along with preventing and solving bad breath issues caused by halitosis.
16. Avoid Drying Medications
A common minor side effect of many medications is dry mouth. Dry mouth is a term for decreased saliva production, leaving the mouth dry. The problem with dry mouth and decreased saliva production is that saliva is meant to neutralize bacteria and wash away food particles, both of which can cause bad breath. You can’t always avoid medications that cause dry mouth, but you should seek alternatives when possible, and remember to keep hydrated.
17. Take Care Of Your Dentures
Dentures are helpful for those who need false teeth and require many to be replaced. It’s an inexpensive solution for many, in comparison to alternatives. However, it's important to care for them to avoid bad breath. Just like teeth, your dentures can accumulate bad breath bacteria, so you need to care for them like you would your teeth. Cleansing your dentures daily is important for keeping these kinds of bacteria at bay, and keeping your breath fresh.
18. Avoid Large Fillings If You Can
You might not have thought of it, but your fillings could be the cause of your bad breath. This is less common with newer fillings but older, larger fillings can cause problems. In particular, composite and silver amalgam fillings that are more than 10 years old, which as susceptible to masking and hiding cavities, tooth decay, and bacteria underneath. Tooth decay is often the root cause of chronic bad breath, and you should see a dentist if you suspect a problem with your fillings.
19. Don’t Let Your Children Nurse For Too Long
Breastfeeding, more highly recommended than pumping or bottle feeding and provides many benefits for your child, both nutritional and emotional. But, breastfeeding for too long can cause problems for your child later in life, including bad breath caused by halitosis, and even an increased risk for cavities. Studies have suggested that breastfeeding beyond a year or so can actually negatively impact your child’s oral health.
20. Clean Your Mouth Out After Every Meal
After you eat, food particles may stay in your mouth for hours following, giving bad breath causing bacteria something to feed on. Not to mention that if what you ate was sugary or acidic, it may also eat away at your enamel, in addition to causing foul breath. The best thing you can do in these situations is to brush or rinse between meals and after snacks.