- Unfortunately, for as easy as it is to get bad breath, getting rid of it can be a lot more complicated. For some, employing a toothbrush, floss and mouthwash more frequently to remove plaque, the nearly invisible film of bacteria that contributes to bad breath, will do the trick.
Whether it’s a fleeting case of morning breath or a lingering bout with halitosis, everyone has bad breath sometimes.
Unfortunately, for as easy as it is to get bad breath, getting rid of it can be a lot more complicated. For some, employing a toothbrush, floss and mouthwash more frequently to remove plaque, the nearly invisible film of bacteria that contributes to bad breath, will do the trick.
For others, a professional cleaning to remove stuck-on tartar, which is hardened plaque, will be necessary. Others still will discover that cavities and gum disease are at the root of their bad breath problems.
Occasionally, bad breath is due to something in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract, or to a systemic infection. Some health problems, such as sinus infections or diabetes, can also cause bad breath. And sometimes it just comes down to what you ate for dinner.
So what’s the first step you should take to freshen your breath?
Brush and floss
There are a few things you can do to beat the bad breath caused by germs. Start by keeping your mouth clean: Your food supply is their food supply. Although you can try to kill bacteria with mouthwash, this is only a temporary solution. The bacteria will grow back over time.
Your best defense is to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, and floss once a day. This will help remove the food trapped between your teeth, as well as the food trapped in the gum line. Otherwise, both of these areas would provide breeding grounds for bacteria.
If food particles are left to linger, bad breath is imminent
Clean your tongue
Scientists suspect that some bacteria, particularly bacteria located on the top of your tongue closest to your throat, actually protect against foul-smelling breath. Other types of bacteria, however, produce a pungent odor as they multiply. What does this research mean for you? The type of bacteria most prevalent on your tongue could mean the difference between good and bad breath. Unfortunately, researchers don’t yet know how to tip the bacterial balance so that you’ll always have naturally sweet-smelling breath.
There is one simple thing you can do to help, though:Clean your tongue. The rough surface of the tongue is home to a potentially foul-smelling combination of dead cells, food debris, bacteria and the byproducts of bacterial digestion -- factors that all contribute to less-than-fresh breath. Be sure to brush your tongue with your toothbrush after you brush your teeth.
Wet your whistle
Why is morning breath so awful? When you sleep, you produce less saliva than when you’re awake. Saliva contains oxygen, and oxygen deters the growth of bacteria.
Unfortunately, “morning breath” is a misnomer. Your mouth can become dry during the day, too. And a dry mouth -- whether it’s at midnight or noon -- can quickly cause bad breath. You need plenty of saliva because it helps clean your mouth; it’s naturally antibacterial, and it washes away food particles. To keep your saliva flowing throughout the day, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You also could stimulate saliva production by sucking on a mint or chewing gum, but these are only temporary solutions.
Don’t rely on mints
Relying on a mint to mask bad breath works about as well as using cologne to cover up body odor. It may work for a little while, but eventually the smell will break through.
A mint or piece of chewing gum simply won’t kill the bacteria that cause mouth odor. Plus, if the mint or gum contains sugar, it will act as a buffet for the bacteria in your mouth. They will continue to rapidly reproduce and release the byproducts, such as volatile sulfur compounds, that cause bad breath.
It’s also possible that your bad breath is caused by a medical condition, not just the bacteria in your mouth, and a mint definitely won’t replace a visit to the doctor. Although mouth odor is often associated with gum disease or tooth decay, it can occasionally signal health problems such as respiratory or sinus infections, bronchitis, diabetesor malfunctions of the liver or kidney. If checkups with your dentist and physician don’t reveal an undiagnosed medical condition, and if you’re cleaning your teeth and tongue on a regular basis, the culprit could be as close as your dinner plate.
To smell sweet, eat fruits high in vitamin C, such as melons, berries, oranges.Vitamin C doesn’t sit well with the bacteria in your mouth.