Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is not only unpleasant but also embarrassing. While occasional bad breath is normal, chronic bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away may be a sign of an underlying oral health issue. Here are a few tips to eliminate bad breath.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day
After you eat a meal, food particles remain behind in your mouth and on your teeth. Clear away food remnants by brushing for 2 minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. A soft brush is recommended because it will clean the surfaces of your teeth without causing irritation to your gums. Brushing every surface of every tooth helps remove plaque that can contribute to bad breath.
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months or when the bristles become frayed. A new toothbrush will remove more bacteria than an old one. In addition, your toothbrush can harbor germs because the bristles hold onto bacteria and leftover saliva. Germs can grow on your toothbrush, so it is important to replace them regularly to clean your mouth of harmful bacteria.
Brush your tongue
It is important to remember to brush your tongue as well as your teeth. Bacteria can build up on your tongue and produce a foul odor. Tongue scraping removes these bacteria from your tongue and freshens your breath.
Use a mouthwash
Using a mouthwash can be beneficial if you have persistent bad breath. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash to eliminate odors coming from your mouth. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol can actually make bad breath worse.
Floss at least once a day
Bacteria thrive on the food debris and mucus in your mouth that cause bad breath. When the bacteria come into contact with the air, it releases odors that smell like rotten food. The best way to remove plaque and food debris is to floss at least once each day.
When you floss before bedtime, you are less likely to have bad breath in the morning when you wake up.
Brush your tongue
Your tongue is home to many types of bacteria. This is why it is important to brush it every day. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently clean the surface of your tongue and the back of your mouth to remove bacteria and food debris. You should also brush the roof of your mouth.
In addition to brushing your tongue, you should also use a scraper to remove the buildup of plaque and food debris from the back of your throat. The mucus membrane found in the back of your throat is prone to trapping particles of food and debris that can result in bad breath. Using a scraper will help clear away this buildup and help prevent odor-causing bacteria from getting trapped there.
Clean dentures or dental appliances
If you have a removable dental appliance like a denture or retainer, it’s important to keep it clean to avoid bad breath. Bacteria can build up on your dental appliance and transfer to your gums. A dirty dental appliance can also irritate gums and lead to mouth sores.
Remove your dental appliance and rinse it under warm water to remove any leftover debris or food particles. Soak the appliance in denture cleaner according to the package directions. This will help remove bacteria from the appliance and its plastic case. Then rinse again before placing it back in your mouth. Do this regularly to keep your dental appliance clean and free from bacteria.
You can also brush your dentures using a soft-bristled toothbrush with denture paste or toothpaste. Make sure to scrub all parts of your dentures, including the inside and outside surfaces and the chewing surface.
Avoid dry mouth
A dry mouth is a side effect of certain medications and can lead to bad breath. Your saliva is your body’s way of keeping the pH balance in your mouth healthy. Saliva cleans your mouth, protects you from tooth decay, and helps to break down food into tiny particles that can be more easily digested. If your mouth is too dry, your saliva can’t do its job properly, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.
If your dentist has diagnosed you with chronic dry mouth, ask about ways to keep your mouth moist throughout the day. Drink plenty of water and avoid things that can cause dehydration, such as caffeine and alcohol. You can also chew gum to stimulate saliva production.
Talk to your dentist at your next appointment and let them know what your concerns are, and then work with them to find a solution.