6 Clever Cures for Bad Breath
You’ll only realise you have bad breath by watching the reactions of others.
Do people lean back a bit when you talk to them? Does your spouse imperceptibly wrinkle their nose when you swoop in for a kiss? Yup; you have stinky breath.
Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by a variety of things. Poor dental hygiene, garlic and onions; certain medications or chronic illnesses can all lead to bad breath, but ultimately, it’s bacteria growing on the tongue that are responsible for the actual odour.
But if you never notice it yourself, how can you be sure you have halitosis?
Self-check for Bad Breath
Check your tongue. It should look shiny and pink – if it’s a bit scaly or white, it has a build-up of bacteria coating it.
Want to get an idea of the smell? Blowing into cupped hands doesn’t work.
Get a spoon; use it to scrape the back of your tongue, let the spoon dry and then take a whiff. Yuck! That’s what other people are smelling each time you open your mouth.
Another way to check is to lick the back of your hand; let it dry and then smell the surface. Note: these testing methods are not a spectator sport and should be done in the privacy of your bathroom, so you can tackle your halitosis before inflicting bad breath on the world!
How to Tackle that Bad Breath
1. Drink more water: A dry mouth leads to the build-up of dead cells on the tongue. Without enough saliva to wash them away, those bacteria feed on the dead cells and the resulting smell is gross. That’s where ‘morning breath’ comes from. Your mouth gets dry when you travel, and some medicines cause chronic dry-mouth.
2. Regular brushing and flossing: Trapped food provides a banquet for bacteria, which multiply quickly. As they feast on food debris in your mouth they secret enamel-destroying acid and a nasty smell. Regular brushing and flossing takes away their food source, and sweeps existing bacteria away. The more you brush and floss; the less chance the bacteria have to accumulate.
3. Balance that New Year diet: The usual January crash-diet well intentioned people start each year causes the body to break down fats and emit ketones. People who choose a high protein diet, or a very low-calorie plan, develop awful breath. Drastic diets are a poor choice as they are unstainable; you’ll out weight back on the moment you stop, and your breath will be rank.
4. Brush your tongue: Or use a tongue scraper. It’ll make you gag until you get used to it, but getting rid of the bacteria that build up at the very back of the tongue will reduce the concentration of smelly sulphur compounds that cause rancid breath.
5. Rinse with Mouthwash: Adding a rinse and gargle with mouthwash to your oral hygiene regime helps combat the bacteria that cause halitosis. It’s a quick-fix and won’t last as long as scraping the tongue itself, but at least buys you some confidence time during a face-to-face meeting. You need to gargle and rinse for at least 30 seconds, and do not eat or smoke for at least half an hour afterwards. Ask your Smile Store Hygienist which mouthwash would be the best choice for you.
6. Sugar-free gum: Keeps saliva flowing without exposing your teeth to sugar. Gum-chewing is not always appropriate in every environment, and it can make you look like a bratty teen so choose your moments. Ensure to dispose of gum properly- do not spit it on ground and DO NOT stick it under your desk!
Getting rid of bad breath requires a multi-pronged approach, and a few simple changes to the way you eat; hydrate and clean can make a huge difference.
A visit to our Dental Hygienist can get you started on the right path with a professional cleaning, and she can make sure there are no underlying causes such as tooth decay that may be the source of your bad breath. Call us at 021 432 0004 for an appointment and start 2018 right!
Tomorrow, check back for a list of foods that will keep your breath smelling sweet.