Bad breath is a problem that sometimes affects most people, either when they are sick or after eating. More than 40 million people in the United States have a more serious condition: chronic halitosis (persistent bad breath), which leads to a lack of self-confidence and a fear of socializing. Fortunately, keeping your breath fresh is usually easy if you stay clean, eat right, and use mouth fresheners as needed.
Method 1 of 4: Keeping Your Mouth Clean
Step 1. Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day
Brushing your teeth will eradicate the bacteria that cause bad breath and prevent smelly and damaged teeth. Don't forget the tongue, especially at the back. One study found that brushing your tongue can reduce bad breath by as much as 70%.
Step 2. Wash your mouth with water after eating
Gargling water in your mouth will help get rid of bits of food that can lead to bad breath.
Step 3. Floss at least once a day
Floss will remove food debris that a toothbrush cannot reach. In addition, this floss can also get rid of plaque (a layer of bacteria that forms around the teeth). Another use is to help prevent periodontal disease (gum disease) which can also trigger bad breath.
Step 4. Use the mouthwash at least once a day
This will help protect your teeth and kill bacteria that can cause bad breath. Move the solution in a circular motion in your mouth for 30-60 seconds, then rinse your mouth again for another 30-60 seconds. Gargling is important for reaching the back of the throat and the inside of the cheeks – those areas in the mouth that are more difficult to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss.
- Fluoride mouthwash kills bacteria. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.
- Gargling with hydrogen peroxide kills mouth bacteria that can cause bad breath.
- Avoid mouthwash solutions that contain alcohol. A solution like this will dry out your mouth and make your bad breath problem worse.
Step 5. Go to the dentist every six months
The dentist will perform a thorough cleaning to help prevent plaque build-up. He or she will also examine your mouth for tartar or gum disease that can cause bad breath. He or she may also provide a referral to another doctor if bad breath is the result of a medical condition such as a sinus or lung infection, bronchitis, metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, or liver or kidney disease.
Method 2 of 4: Eat to Keep Breath Fresh
Step 1. Drink lots of water
Lack of fluids can lead to dry mouth, which can be the cause of bad breath. Water can also dissolve any chemical compounds in your mouth or gums, causing bad breath.
Step 2. Eat yogurt (condensed sour milk)
Research shows that 170 grams of yogurt a day helps reduce levels of odor-causing compounds in the mouth. Prioritize yogurt that contains the active bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
Step 3. Eat fruits and vegetables
The abrasive nature of fruits and vegetables helps to clean teeth. In addition, vitamins, antioxidants, and acids contained in it help improve dental health. The most beneficial foods are:
- Apples - Apples contain vitamin C, which is necessary for healthy gums, as well as malic acid, which helps whiten teeth.
- Carrots - Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
- Celery - Chewing celery produces a lot of saliva, which helps neutralize bacteria that cause bad breath.
- Pineapple - Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that cleans the mouth.
Step 4. Drink black, green, or herbal tea
These teas have been shown to kill bacteria that trigger bad breath and plaque.
Step 5. Avoid stomach ache
An upset stomach can lead to burping, which contributes to bad breath. Do not eat foods that will make your stomach hurt, or if you have already done so, use antacids. If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose tablets.
Step 6. Avoid foods that contain a lot of onions, garlic, or spices
All of these can cause bad breath. If you eat them, bring sugarless gum with you or a toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen your mouth afterward.
Step 7. Be wary of low-carb diets
A low-carb diet leads to ketosis – a state in which the body burns fat (instead of carbohydrates) for energy. This may be good for thinning you, but it will also produce chemicals called ketones, which contribute to bad breath. To stop this problem, you have to change your diet. Or, you can get rid of the smell in one of the following ways:
- Drink lots of water to dissolve the ketones.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless mints.
- Chew mint leaves.
Method 3 of 4: Stopping Other Causes of Bad Breath
Step 1. Check your sinuses
Sinus infections or post-nasal drip (mucus coming out of the sinuses and back into the throat) account for up to 10% of all cases of bad breath. There are several ways to work around this:
- Go to the doctor. You may need antibiotics to treat a sinus infection.
- Use over-the-counter medications to dry out the sinuses and avoid mucus build-up.
- Try a saline spray to thin the mucus and make it easier to pass.
- Try a sinus irrigator to clear your sinuses.
Step 2. Be aware that some medications cause bad breath
Some medications will dry out the mouth, causing bad breath, while others contain chemicals that directly refer to bad breath. Pay particular attention to these medications:
- Chloral hydrate.
- Nitrites and nitrates.
- Dimethyl sulfoxide.
- Some chemotherapy drugs.
Step 3. Quit smoking to cure bad breath
Smoking can make your mouth smell like an ashtray. The only permanent solution is to quit smoking. However, you can also use mint or another mouth freshener to mask the smell.
Method 4 of 4: Using Breath Fresheners
Step 1. Chew sugarless gum to freshen your breath
Look for gum with xylitol. Bacteria in the mouth will stick to this artificial sugar, not to the teeth. Chewing gum also makes you salivate, helps prevent dry mouth, and flushes out bacteria and food particles. Make sure the gum doesn't contain sugar.
Step 2. Try a breath spray, breath mint, or lozenge
Whatever you choose, make sure it doesn't contain sugar. Look for xylitol as a sugar substitute. If using a spray, make sure your spray doesn't contain alcohol, as alcohol will dry out your mouth, which will contribute to bad breath. Remember: mints, sprays and lozenges only mask bad breath; not cure it. If you are constantly using mouth fresheners, be sure to go to the dentist.
Step 3. Chewing on the spices will freshen your breath
Fennel leaves in particular proved good for freshening the breath; These leaves contain essential oils that have been shown to be effective in treating bad breath. Other spices to try include sage, which has antimicrobial properties to treat bad breath, or eucalyptus oil. Dill and parsley are rich in chlorophyll so they can freshen your breath. In addition, both can also be used as decoration for various types of dishes.
Step 4. Chew on seeds or pods
Coriander, cardamom and anise will freshen your breath, but don't chew too much. Especially in anise, the smell is strong and unpleasant if eaten too much. If you chew cardamom, make sure not to swallow it.
Step 5. Use an alcoholic beverage to freshen your breath
Alcohol kills bacteria that cause bad breath, so these drinks – especially those with a pleasant smell – are a good way to freshen it up. The higher the alcohol content in the drink, the more effective it will be. Make sure you also avoid drinks that are too sugary. Sugary drinks leave sugar residue behind which can breed even more bacteria.
Step 6. Wash it off with baking soda
Baking soda is a natural breath freshener. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, and gargle it all over your mouth