Bad odor is one of the worst things that can happen to you socially, from bad body odor to the much dreaded bad breath. There are many causes for halitosis, which is the medical term for bad breath. Inside your mouth, you have bacteria that eat the residues of sugar and other substances that you eat or drink, and as a subproduct of their metabolism they produce substances that smell bad, and that is the cause of bad breath.
Now, there are many reasons why your bacteria could be out of control. It can be due to poor hygiene of your mouth, so the more residues of food and drink you have, the more active your bacteria will be. Gum conditions and dental cavities can also give you bad breath, and a few conditions like digestive problems or even the process of losing weight can affect your breath. Here is a list of ten simple ways to get rid of it.
1. Work harder on your dental hygiene
If your bad breath is due to bad dental or mouth hygiene, then all you need to do is improve it. If the cause is different, then at least you will be helping. First of all, what you have to do is brush your teeth at least three times a day, after your meals. Make sure you brush with the right technique to actually clean all your teeth and the inside of your mouth.
Never go to sleep before brushing your teeth or the bacteria will grow during the night, because when you are asleep you are not eating, talking or swallowing, so the medium is ideal for bacterial proliferation. Also, floss at least twice a day to remove rests of food from between your teeth. If you use dentures, buy a cleaning solution or an effervescent pill and clean them every night, so bacteria don’t accumulate on the surface of it.
2. Scrape your tongue
Mouth hygiene isn’t just about your teeth. Bacteria can grow on every surface of your mouth, including the inside of your cheeks, your gums, and of course, your tongue. Some people like to clean their tongue with their toothbrushes, and that helps, but it is not enough to get rid of all the potential agents of bad breath that are found on the surface of it. Your tongue has an irregular surface and bacteria can hide on the texture and grow, causing bad breath.
Also, other infections such as microscopical fungi can grow on your tongue, causing bad breath as well. Even dead cells could accumulate on your tongue, so it is important to keep it clean. You can use a tongue scraper to clean it a couple of times a day. Some toothbrushes have a tongue scraper on the back, so you can use both. Another good option is to use a spoon to scrape your tongue.
3. Use a mouthwash
A mouthwash is a great complement for your brushing and flossing routine. There are many types of mouthwash that you can use to rinse your mouth. Make sure to use your mouthwash at least twice a day. The mouthwash will kill thousands of bacteria and thus help you with your bad breath problem. You can get them over the counter and they often come in different presentations, some of them are special for bad breath so you can choose them.
Rinse your mouth for at least thirty seconds every time, to allow the antibiotic properties of your mouthwash to act and kill all the microorganisms that are contributing to your bad breath problem. What is great about mouthwash is that it can reach all your mouth, including the spaces between your teeth, and the less accessible parts like the back of your palate and under your tongue.
4. Replace your brush periodically
If you brush your teeth as often as you should, you will realize that your brush becomes more and more worn and you need to buy a new one every once in a while. This is important, because your brush needs to be in good condition so it does its job. After a while, the bristles become bent and lose their rigidity, and that will cause your brush to be less efficient at removing food and bacteria from your teeth.
Also, your brush will grow its own population of bacteria after a while, because the bacteria that stay in your brush after you use it will grow in the moist environment and multiplicate. There are special brushes that are antibacterial, but even those you need to change every once in a while. Make sure your brush is in good conditions and replace it every two or three months.
5. Get a periodical dental cleaning
Keeping your mouth clean isn’t just a matter of brushing your teeth with the proper technique and frequency, or rinsing it with a good mouthwash, or even scraping and flossing thoughtfully. There are deposits of food and other substances that not even regular brushing can get rid of.
Your teeth can get weaker over time because they are constantly exposed to chemicals that wear them out, for example, the acid that is present in some ailments like citrus and vinegar; if your teeth get weaker, your enamel thins, and you are more likely to get cavities. For that reason, you need to go to the dentist and get a dental cleaning. The process is quite quick and absolutely painless and will get rid of all those deposits and hidden stains that play against your mouth’s hygiene. Remember to visit your dentist at least once a year and get advice.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking tobacco is known to be harmful to your health in a number of ways, and not all of them are as dramatic as lung cancer or heart disease. One of the less terrible consequences of smoking is bad breath. The smoke itself leaves deposits of toxic substances in your lungs which do not smell well, so when you breathe the odor leaves your chest through your mouth and people can smell it.
Also, the smoke from your tobacco cigarettes damages your gums, and gum disease is one of the main causes of bad breath because when gums are inflamed they create spaces where bacteria can grow and do their thing. Additionally, smoking will make your teeth weaker and stain them. If you have bad breath and you are still smoking, this could be an extra motivator for you to finally make the decision and leave tobacco behind for good.
7. Chew on natural remedies for bad breath
Natural remedies have been around long before we started developing any form of institutionalized medicine. Some of them actually work very well, because they use plants or other elements of natural origin that have very powerful active components that either mask the bad odor or have direct effects on your mouth that will eventually cancel your bad breath.
Perhaps the most widely used and widely known natural remedy for bad breath is mint, and many mouth health products are mint flavored. Chewing mint leaves can mask your bad breath, but so will do other leaves such as cilantro or basil. Few people know it, but clovers are also great for getting rid of your bad breath. If you like seeds, you can try chewing aniseeds or fennel seeds, they will also do a great job at helping you with your breath problem.
8. Stimulate your saliva production
Have you ever wondered why some animals lick their wounds? This behavior is so frequent that it has actually inspired the expression “licking your wounds”. They do it because saliva has antiseptic properties, which means that it helps kill germs that could grow on your body. For that reason, if you have enough saliva, your bacteria could be kept at bay, but if you have a dry mouth or for any other reason don’t have enough saliva, you could get bad breath.
You can stimulate the production of saliva with citric acid: chew some lemon or orange and you will immediately feel your mouth getting wetter. The act of chewing, even without any food in your mouth, triggers a reflex that makes you salivate more. If you have a dry mouth, try drinking more water, it will help your body generate all the saliva that it needs.
9. Avoid food and drinks that make your breath smelly
We all know that after you eat certain meals you have bad breath, for example after you eat garlic your breath smells of garlic for a while. This is because there are some foods and drinks that have components with a strong odor, that don’t get neutralized during your digestion. They can be absorbed by your intestines and reach your bloodstream, spreading around your body.
When they reach your lungs, these compounds can become volatile and leave your body through your breath. Perhaps the most common foods that cause bad breath through this mechanism are onions and garlic but remember that alcohol and even coffee can have this effect too. Bad breath due to eating smelly food is not a health problem and it goes away on itself, but if you want to make sure your breath smells good, avoid these foods.
10. Chew sugarless gum
Chewing gum is one of the most practical and effective ways to cover your bad breath. It will not solve the underlying problem, but if you want to mask your halitosis for a particular occasion, then it is one of the best things you can do. Many brands of chewing gum have mint flavor and/or any compound specifically put there to help you mask your bad breath.
If you want to chew gum for this purpose, the best thing that you can do is choose a sugarless chewing gum. This is because the bacteria that live inside your mouth love eating sugar, and when they do, they produce chemicals that make your breath smell bad. So you are kind of covering a problem but at the same time making it worse. Stick with sugarless chewing gum, but remember that if you want to get rid of the problem, you will need to take further action.