Ever opened your mouth and cleared a room? Occasional unpleasant breath can certainly interfere with your daily life and social interactions. To banish bad breath for good, try these 10 helpful tips:
1. Brush, brush, brush: Regular brushing is the first step to getting rid of the germs that cause bad breath. Use a soft-bristled brush, making sure to cover every surface of the mouth, including teeth, gum lines, cheeks and tongue. Natural toothpaste made with xylitol or tea tree oil may be additionally helpful, as both have bacteria-fighting properties.
2. Follow up with floss: Food particles can hide in the spaces between your teeth, eventually rotting and fermenting, releasing unpleasant odors. Get into the habit of flossing to remove such particles. A dental irrigator (such as a water pick) can also be helpful.
3. Scrape away germs: Your tongue is a haven for the germs that cause bad breath. Simply and gently scrape the surface of your tongue after every meal with a scraper, spoon or toothbrush.
4. Wash your mouth: Mouthwash can be beneficial, but avoid those that contain alcohol, as it has a drying effect that can contribute to a bacteria-friendly environment. Mouthwashes with xylitol or essential oils such as tea tree or peppermint can help rid your mouth of odor-causing compounds.
5. Drink water: As mentioned, a dry mouth can allow bacteria to linger and multiply. Regularly drinking water can wash away odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
6. Avoid aromatic foods: If you want your breath to be at its best, stay away from large amounts of garlic, onions, alcohol or exceptionally strong cheeses. Cigarettes and coffee can also contribute to less-than-lovely breath.
7. Chew gum: Stimulate saliva production by chewing gum. Stay away from sugary varieties and instead try gum naturally sweetened with xylitol, which can help fight bacteria.
8. Don’t cut out carbs: Following an extremely low-carb diet can leave your breath smelling less than pleasant. When your body starts burning fat instead of carbs for energy, it can cause the release of ketones, which result in bad breath. If you want to avoid this unpleasant effect, you may not want to completely cut out all carbs from your diet.
9. Gnaw on herbs: Parsley, rosemary, mint, tarragon and eucalyptus have breath-freshening properties. Chew on a small sprig to stave off stinky breath.
10. Get your vitamins & minerals: A deficiency in certain nutrients, such as B vitamins or zinc, can lead to bad breath. Other nutrients may help fight underlying causes, such as gum problems (vitamin C) and bacteria growth (vitamin D).
Still have problems getting rid of bad breath? See a dentist or doctor, as your condition may be chronic or caused by an unknown dental or medical problem.