Bad breath. It’s embarrassing, it’s not appealing, and half the time, it’s hard to tell you have it! The good news is, there are some easy things anyone can do to cut down on bad breath, simply by changing behaviours and using a few simple ingredients.
First Steps to Cutting Down on Bad Breath
Brush your teeth. Simple. It’s so obvious you might not even think of it, but the fact it, most bad breath is caused simply by a dirty mouth. This leads to a build-up of bacteria or plaque, and that can bring with it a bad odour. Keeping your mouth clean is the first and most important step to fresh breath.
Floss. Decaying food trapped between teeth can be another source of bad breath. Flossing regularly keeps it free from organic matter that will inevitably go bad. Think of your mouth as a microcosm of your kitchen counter, your dining table or your bathroom sink. You wouldn’t want to leave old food lying around on them. Besides, your mouth is a hot, moist place, and you know what happens to old food in that environment. Who wants to be walking around breathing that all over the place?
Brush your tongue. It’s an extra step to take while brushing your teeth that can make a huge difference. Plaque and tiny food particles can also get stuck in between the minute folds of the tongue, contributing to an unpleasant odour in your mouth.
Rule out a treatable dental problem. Your dentist can diagnose a broken tooth, cavity or gum infection that could be the source of your breath issues. Of course it’s always a good idea to stay current on regular dental check-ups, but when bad breath is giving you a hard time, it’s even more important to stay on top of your oral health.
Rule out other medical problems. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by a sinus or lung infection, a gastro-intestinal problem, or even diabetes! Regular check-ups and maintenance of chronic medical conditions are essential to total health. Often, bad breath can be a helpful indicator of a larger problem brewing somewhere else in the body.
Smoking. The reasons to quit smoking are endless, but perhaps nowhere does it affect one’s vanity more than in the impact it has on one’s breath. Cigarette smoke creates a sour, unpleasant smell that is especially noticeable to non-smokers. Unless you plan to chew an endless amount of gum and breath mints, be prepared for your nicotine habit to be one of the first things people notice about you when you get up close, even if you don’t have a cigarette lit.
What else can I do?
Watch what you eat and drink! Certain foods and beverages like onions, garlic, strong cheeses, coffee, wine, whiskey and beer are notorious for leaving lingering odours in your mouth. If you choose to indulge in any of these treats, consider whether the people with you are doing the same. If you and your friends all share that loaf of garlic bread, you’ll be less likely to offend one another. Otherwise, there’s always gum and breath mints.
Eat parsley. It’s a natural breath freshener. Think of that the next time you leave a sprig sitting on the side of your plate. If it came with an order of shrimp scampi, it’s now your best friend.
Certain herbs and spices have natural breath enhancing properties. “The Big Doctors Book of Home Remedies” suggests chewing on cloves, fennel or anise seeds, as a way to freshen your breath after a spicy meal.
Another one they suggest is to create your own homemade gargle made from extracts of sage, calendula and myrrh gum, all of which are available at health food stores. Simply use equal parts of each and gargle with the mixture four times a day. It can be stored at room temperature in a well-sealed jar.
Perhaps the simplest and easiest way to keep your breath smelling fresher throughout the day is to simply swish water in your mouth after every meal. Of course, brushing your teeth after you eat is always a good idea, but while you don’t always have access to a toothbrush, you can usually get some water. If you have questions, talk to your Canada Bay Dental dentist today for more tips on keeping your breath fresh and minty.