6 Simple Ways to Banish Bad Breath

Posted on April 9, 2013 by Tools For Wellness

This guest post is written by Sarah McNaughton, a contributor for www.TopDentists.com, a dental health resource site.

Have you noticed your breath is less than fresh lately? Halitosis is a common problem that most people experience at least once in their lifetime. Bad breath is usually caused by bacteria growing in your mouth and can be fixed by taking simple steps to improve your oral health. Try these six easy but essential ways to freshen your breath:

1. Brush – and don’t forget your tongue: Brushing your teeth and tongue twice a day will make a huge difference in the freshness factor of your breath. Use fluoride toothpaste and be sure to reach all areas of the mouth. Pay extra attention to the gums near your molars and the back of your tongue, where bacteria have a better chance of growing without being disturbed. You should brush your teeth for two minutes, or about 30 seconds per quadrant.

2. Floss or use a flossing device: Flossing not only gets rid of the small particles of food your toothbrush misses but also keeps your gums healthy, reducing your risk for more significant oral health problems like periodontal disease. If you’re like many people and avoid flossing because it’s too much of a hassle, consider using a device like the Hydro Floss Oral Irrigator. Instead of having to stick your hands in your mouth to floss, this device releases a stream of pulsating water around teeth, the gum line and other hard-to-reach areas so you can quickly and efficiently remove food particles and excess plaque.

3. Gargle with peroxide or mouthwash: Think of it as the cherry on top of your better breath routine: gargling hydrogen peroxide or an antimicrobial mouthwash for about one minute will help to keep your breath fresh. Mouthwash can be especially useful in neutralizing morning breath that comes from having a dry mouth during the night. The oxygen in hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and also helps to gradually whiten teeth, as well.

4. Drink plenty of water: Bacteria thrives in a mouth that is dry or has a low pH caused by acidic foods and drinks like cheese and soda. Drinking water often, particularly after meals, is an excellent way to rinse away food and bacteria as well as rebalance the mouth’s pH levels. Water also helps keep the mouth moist through increased saliva production, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent and cleanses the mouth throughout the day.

5. Eat probiotic yogurt: Fight bad bacteria with good bacteria – yogurt that contains probiotic bacteria helps to reduce the amount of smelly sulfur compounds in the mouth. Strains of the streptococci and lactobacilli bacteria have proven particularly effective at minimizing bad breath, as well as fortified yogurt with vitamin D.

6. Chew sugarless gum with xylitol: Even though gum is not a permanent fix for halitosis, it can help if you need a quick solution after a smelly meal. Gum helps to loosen food from teeth and stimulates saliva production, which promotes better overall oral health. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, however, so deny them a meal by going sugarless. Even better, chew gum with xylitol, an artificial sweetener that actively inhibits bacterial growth.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have kissable breath in no time. If your breath doesn’t improve, visit your dentist. Bad breath can be an indicator of a more serious health problem such as infection, diabetes or kidney or liver disease.