If you’re suffering with breath that’s less than beautiful, don’t worry, we’ve got some top tips to deal with bad breath for you!
- Clean between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes every day
- Use an electric toothbrush
- Brush your tongue
- Mouthwash that’s alcohol-free is best
- Chewing sugar free gum? Go for one that’s sweetened with xylitol
- Drink plenty of fresh water
- Stop smoking
- Visit your dental hygienist
First, the basics on how to treat bad breath
There’s nothing to beat cleaning your teeth daily to keep your mouth feeling fresh and free from bad smells. The acids created from bacteria in leftover food particles on and around the teeth create those unwanted aromas, so be sure to clean between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes every day as well so that nothing gets missed.
An electric toothbrush tends to be more effective than a manual one for this purpose. You can read our blog post “Is An Electric Toothbrush Better Than A Manual Toothbrush?” for further information.
While you’re brushing your teeth, brush your tongue as well! You can even use a tongue scraper if needed. It might sound strange, but it’s a great way to improve your breath aroma.
Natural remedies for bad breath, as well as shop-bought versions
Mouthwash that’s alcohol-free is best, since the alcohol leaves the mouth dry, which creates bacteria. If you’re into making your own at home, try a tablespoon of baking soda (which is antibacterial), to a cup of warm water. Peppermint oil - just a few drops into that solution - will leave that fresh taste in the mouth. If you go for the shop bought version, it’s best to find one with zinc in it.
Have you thought about chewing sugar free gum? Go for one that’s sweetened with xylitol and you’ll benefit from additional antibacterial properties. The action of chewing increases saliva, and helps remove the stains and bacteria, so it’s a good addition to maintaining good oral health.
If you’ve run out of sugar free gum, go into the herb garden and collect some fresh mint. Chewing on the leaves will not only help with the breath, it’ll actually give you the nutritional value of other leafy garden greens. Parsley’s another option. The chlorophyll in parsley will neutralise bad smells. You can take these with you in a zip top sandwich bag for convenience.
Foods and drinks that are best for improving your breath
Certain foods are going to be better for your breath than others. If you only eat foods that have a high fat content, you’ll suffer the by-product of ketones created in the stomach, which give off bad odours.
To avoid that, moderate your fat intake, eat proteins and carbohydrates in moderation too. You’ll benefit from eating fresh fruit, and vegetables, especially the dark green leafy kind, as well as sweet potatoes, which are better for you nutritionally than ordinary potatoes.
There are additional benefits to eating crunchy fruits and vegetables. Simply snacking on a crisp eating apple is a great way to clean your teeth without a brush. Plaque and bacteria get removed by the action of eating, so it’s great for your oral health, even before you consider the value of fresh raw food in your diet.
Probiotics are recommended for all kinds of dietary benefits, not least for breaking down food in the stomach so it can be digested easily. That’s good for the breath as well, as you don’t get those gastric smells that come from indigestion and heartburn. You’ll also have more of the nutrients in your food released into your body so that your food is even healthier for you.
What about drinks? Well, we know that alcohol has a drying effect on the mouth, and that’s not good for the breath. So instead drink plenty of fresh water. Plain tap water is great for hydration, and it doesn’t contain the additives and sweeteners that many commercial drinks are loaded with.
Citric acid and fizzy drinks are very acidic, which is bad for the breath and the surface of the teeth because acid erodes tooth enamel. Go for water instead. Coffee is another drink you should moderate or avoid completely, because it raises the acidity in the body. As with all things, moderation is key. It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge sometimes but keeping a good balance overall will help to reduce acidity and inflammation.
Stop smoking to improve your dental health and breath
After all these suggestions for things to do, here’s something not to do if you’re concerned to improve the smell of your breath: smoking.
Cigarettes not only have that lingering smell of tobacco, they dry out the mouth. The nicotine in cigarettes stops your blood vessels from functioning properly, and that dries the mouth because saliva can’t flow easily. So, smoking is a big no for those who are serious about good dental aromas. If you’re a smoker now, think about quitting. If you’re not, it’s best to steer clear of cigarettes altogether.
In an emergency, you can of course buy breath-freshening sprays and sweets, and a sugar-free mint is good for a quick fix. But better still to work on the source of the problem and ensure that you don’t have to solve the bad-breath symptoms of ill health, slow digestion, acid stomach and poor dental hygiene.
Having great smelling breath is a big boost for social confidence and a real weight off your mind if you’ve suffered with bad breath in the past.
So, take note of our advice on ways to deal with bad breath and don’t forget, make sure you visit your dentist for routine check-up’s and make a couple of visits to your friendly dental hygienist to keep those pearly whites in tip top condition!