Ways to Free Yourself (and Others) from Your Bad Breath!
No one likes to go through their day with bad breath. Furthermore, no one likes to be around a person who has bad breath. So what can you do to free yourself from bad breath?
- Brush and Floss
Yes, the two are supposed to be done together. Most people ignore the flossing part, but brushing cleans only about 60 to 75 percent of your mouth. The other 25 percent can only be reached with dental floss — in between teeth and below the gumline. Brushing needs to be done at least twice a day, preferably in the morning when you wake up and in the evening before you go to bed.
Brushing before bed is important so that you don’t have food particles and plaque sitting on your teeth, cultivating cavities while you’re sleeping. Brushing when you wake up is also important, so that you can refresh your mouth and get saliva flowing again. The lack of saliva production while you’re sleeping is what causes morning breath. Be sure to use a soft bristled brush and not to brush too hard.
Flossing needs to be done gently, once a day, preferably before you go to bed to help make sure your mouth is as clean as possible.
For those with dexterity issues, try using an electric or sonic toothbrush which does all the fine brushing work for you. For flossing, if you don’t want to use a waterpik, there are also floss holders that you can wrap the floss around and hold on to the handle without having to contort your fingers. Once you’ve mastered the art of flossing, it takes less than a minute to clean around all your teeth.
- Brush Your Tongue
Brushing your tongue, like flossing, seems to be the last on everyone’s daily, dental hygiene list. But it can make a huge difference in terms of bad breath. The tongue has tiny grooves on it, which are just the right size for food particles and bacteria to get stuck in. If not cleaned away, this can result in odors developing.
Brush your tongue gently from back to front, making sure to get the sides as well. A manual toothbrush works best for this. An electric toothbrush is actually not as good at cleaning your tongue as it is for your teeth. If you have an electric toothbrush, most now come with a tongue brush, otherwise purchase a manual toothbrush.
- Rinsing With Water
Drinking water seems elementary for overall body health, but most people aren’t aware how important water is to oral health. In addition to fluoridated water, drinking either tap water or bottled water flushes food particles, sugars, and sticky food substances away from your teeth and gums. If left on your teeth, sugars, sticky food, and acids left behind can demineralize tooth enamel, leaving it more vulnerable to tooth decay and sensitivity.
Sometimes, brushing right after eating something sugary or acidic can make matters worse, as the abrasion of brushing eats into the softened tooth enamel. Rinse repeatedly with water over the course of the day. You will flush away the very things that can cause bad breath until you can get to your toothbrush.
- Avoid mint gums and dental mints
Believe it or not, mint is probably one of the worst things for bad breath, because it doesn’t address the cause, it just covers up the smell. Your mouth feels cool and tingly for a little while, but then it wears off and you need another one. Mint doesn’t actually kill bacteria and it’s the bacteria that actually causes bad breath.
Plus, unless you’re using a sugar-free or xylitol based mint or gum, you’re chewing and crunching sugar right into your teeth multiple times to keep your mouth feeling fresh.
If you can’t brush and must chew on something before a meeting, chewing a piece of gum for a short period after eating is actually a good way of getting saliva flowing to help clear away food, plaque and sticky residue. But be careful not to chew too long because gum chewing is your jaw joint’s worst nightmare.
- Eat fresh, fleshy fruits and vegetables
Apples, carrots, pears, strawberries, and celery are all examples of easy to eat and easy to pack snacks, that are also natural toothbrushes that clean your teeth, stimulate gums, and encourage production of saliva. Eating a few cheese chunks (not processed cheese slices) has also shown to reduce acidity levels in the mouth, depriving bacteria of the fuel they need to multiply. Just a few different choices of fruits and vegetables can transform your lunch and your mouth.
- Regular dental visits
The above five points can’t be completely effective in freeing your mouth from bad breath without regular dental visits and cleanings. You need the deeper, dental cleaning that hygienists provide and the educated eye of a dentist to notice other contributing factors to bad breath such as periodontal disease, acid reflux, cavities, or issues with your tonsils or vocal chords. Certain medications can affect saliva production, so Orchid Family Dental can help you monitor your oral health and perhaps coordinate with your family doctor to find a suitable medication that will minimize this side effect.