Halitosis, or bad breath, is a condition that affects 25 percent of people globally. While it is common, bad breath can be embarrassing for people. Here are five tips from an experienced dentist, Dr. Maria Luong, to keep your mouth fresh-smelling and healthy all day long.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Twice a Day
Brush your teeth twice a day for about two to three minutes each time. Doing so removes plaque and food on your teeth. Flossing in between teeth catches any food that the toothbrush cannot reach. The bacteria that causes bad breath feeds on food debris and acid that is left behind.
Stay Hydrated and Try Healthy Snacks
When you drink water, it washes away bacteria and food from your mouth. Drink water throughout the day to freshen your mouth. Feeling hungry for a quick snack? Eat crispy fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples to promote saliva in the mouth. Saliva also helps wash away smelly bacteria. Chewing on sugarless candy and gum also promotes saliva production in the mouth.
Avoid Tobacco Products
Using tobacco products also causes bad breath. Tobacco reduces saliva production, which dries out the mouth and leaves a smell that lingers for a long time, even after brushing your teeth. Along with bad breath, tobacco products cause gum disease, stained mouth, and oral cancer.
Scrape Your Tongue
Bacteria can also grow in the folds of your tongue, which contributes to bad breath. Tongue scrapers, which can be found in drugstores, help keep your tongue clean. You can also use your toothbrush to scrub your tongue. In order to brush your tongue, wet your toothbrush and stick your tongue out as far as it reaches. Gently place the toothbrush bristles at the front of the tongue and gently brush, moving slowly towards the back of the mouth.
Talk to Your Dentist
“If you keep your mouth clean and still suffer from bad breath, make an appointment with your dentist so they can check to see if there are any issues with your oral health,” recommended by Dr. Maria Luong. Your dentist can give you specific recommendations on keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. They may also refer you to your general practitioner if the bad breath seems to be coming from a non-oral health source, such as an infection.
Watch What You Eat
There are various foods like garlic, onion and even some spices that are commonly associated with bad breath, or halitosis. Avoiding acidic and sugary foods also helps to prevent bacteria, which can be the root cause of bad breath. Doctors recommend choosing a diet that helps to increase saliva flow like proteins such as beans, seeds, nuts, or fish, green vegetables, whole grain foods, and fresh fruits.
Bad breath is a common, yet embarrassing condition. It can cause anxiety for those experiencing it, hoping that others cannot smell the odor. Fortunately, there are methods to keep mouths healthy and smelling fresh.