Bad breath, or halitosis, is something that many people dread because it is so hard to identify. The cupping of one's hand over the mouth and breathing into it is a common test for bad breath, but is not a very accurate one. A simple way to check your breath is to lick your wrist, wait for your saliva to dry, then smell it. You can also take a plastic spoon and gently scrape your tongue with it (especially the back of your tongue), then smell it. If you are left with an unpleasant surprise, you may want to look into these 10 quick tips for curing bad breath:
1. Floss Your Teeth
Most people tend to skip out on flossing their teeth because they feel brushing and mouthwash should be more than enough for keeping their mouths clean and healthy. However, this is not the case. Flossing daily is crucial for preventing bleeding gums, or gum disease. As for flossing's effectiveness at fighting bad breath, try this:
- Get a piece of unscented floss and start flossing your teeth.
- Make sure you do a good job flossing between your back teeth (molars). Really get up in there, even if it makes your gums bleed (which it probably will).
- As soon as you've swabbed between your back teeth, take a good whiff of your floss. The odor you're smelling is emanating from your mouth, and if you don't regularly floss, it's probably a foul odor.
2. Brush Your Tongue
While brushing and flossing are very important, you should also thoroughly brush your tongue since it plays such a big part in bad breath. Your tongue is like a sponge, collecting bacteria and harboring foul odors in your mouth. If you want to see exactly what you're dealing with, wet a white bristle tooth brush, without any tooth paste, and scrub your tongue. When you're finished, closely examine the bristles. If the tooth brush does not come back white, you need to properly brush your tongue until it is if you are serious about curing bad breath.
3. Properly Brush Your Teeth
Properly brushing your teeth is very important for preventing bad breath. Many people are guilty of either not spending enough time brushing, or not brushing their teeth properly. A proper brushing session should take anywhere between 2-to-5 minutes and should include brushing along your gums. Gargling with mouthwash is a good way to end your tooth brushing session. Complete this brushing regimen, along with flossing and scrubbing your tongue, several times a day to prevent yuck-mouth.
4. Avoid the Tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco products is a surefire way to have chronic bad breath. While you may not notice it for yourself, your bad habit is not only hurting your body, it's hurting your breath. Tobacco tends to leave a distinctive smell on a person's breath, and that smell is definitely not pleasant. Quit smoking, and chewing or dipping tobacco to help cure bad breath.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking water regularly will help flush out your mouth, removing food particles and bacteria. It will also help to keep your mouth moist, which can help prevent bad breath with an increase in saliva to keep mouth bacteria at bay. Just remember to only use water for a better smelling breath since it's either odorless or only has a faint smell.
6. Rinse Your Mouth Regularly
If you can't afford to brush your teeth as often as you'd like, try to at least rinse your mouth regularly. Similar to drinking more water, rinsing your mouth will help flush out food particles and bacteria while preventing a dry mouth. If you have any on hand, a saltwater gargle can also help for curing bad breath.
7. Eat Yogurt
According to an article by MSN Health, a study showed that a daily serving of yogurt helped reduce the level of hydrogen sulfide, which can cause foul odors in the mouth. The yogurt also helped to prevent bacteria build up in your oral cavity, while reducing plaque and gum disease. The article also recommends eating yogurts made from active cultures, meaning they contain probiotics, while avoiding heavily processed yogurts with excess sugar.
8. Avoid Foods with Strong Odors
Foods like garlic, onions, certain cheeses and coffee are notorious for causing bad breath. Even brushing, flossing, chewing gum and using mouthwash aren't enough to counteract the effects certain foods have on your breath. Foods like garlic and onions that can be absorbed in your bloodstream are transported to your lungs and exhaled out of your mouth when your breath. The odor does not go away until these foods have been fully processed out of your system. Just think about belching after eating a couple of pieces of garlic bread. Even if you are chewing gum, the odor is still emanating from your body and exiting through your mouth.
9. See a Doctor
Just like foods that are absorbed in your bloodstream, sometimes there are other causes for bad breath aside from what's in your mouth. According to The Mayo Clinic, certain illnesses like cancers and metabolic disorders can cause a distinctive odor in a person's breath. If you are suffering from chronic bad breath, you may be dealing with something more serious than eating too much garlic, or not brushing your teeth properly. Consult a physician as soon as possible if you ever feel this is the case.
10. Mask Bad Breath with Gum, Mints and Other Foods
While this last tip won't help much for curing bad breath, it will at least make it less noticeable. Always keep a pack of gum or mints handy, especially after meals. Ever notice the little green-leafed garnish on some of your meals? That little piece of parsley is actually effective at masking bad breath, so think twice before ignoring it or tossing it aside. A slice of bread is also good for absorbing some of the odor in your mouth.