Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is embarrassing and can take a toll on your confidence level. Bad breath can be due to a number of reasons such as eating odorous foods, smoking, dry mouth, medical conditions, gum disease, and sinus conditions.
However, the primary cause of bad breath is the bacteria that build up on the back of your tongue or between your teeth.
Maintaining good oral health is essential to controlling bad breath. This includes regular tooth brushing, flossing and tongue scraping.
Choose your breath fresheners
- The most obvious brand-name products advertised as breath-fresheners are rarely, if ever, effective in the long run. But with a therapeutic oral rinse, you can rid yourself of the compounds that are responsible for breath odour. These products are available both at your local drugstore and over the Internet.
- Use a toothpaste that contains tea-tree oil, a natural disinfectant. If you can’t find it in the pharmacy, look for it in health-food stores.
Home remedies to prevent bad breath
- Use an oral irrigator, which is a handheld device that rapidly pulses a small jet of water into your mouth, to flush out the bad bacteria, which can go deeper than a brush or floss string can reach.
- Carry a toothbrush with you and brush immediately after every meal. With prompt brushing you thwart the development of plaque, the soft, sticky film that coats the teeth and gums.
- To keep your toothbrush free of stink-triggering bacteria, store it, head down, in a lidded plastic tumbler of hydrogen peroxide. Rinse the brush well before you use it.
- If you wear dentures, it’s possible that they are absorbing the bad odours in your mouth. Always soak them overnight in an antiseptic solution, unless your dentist has advised you otherwise.
- Don’t skip meals. When you don’t eat for a long period of time, your mouth can get very dry. It becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- Some things can sour your breath even if there are no bacteria in the neighbourhood. These include cigarettes, alcohol, onions, garlic and especially strong cheeses like Camembert, Roquefort, and blue cheese. In situations where sweet breath is a must, use the commonsense approach—just say no.
- Ask your doctor if a medication could be fouling the air you expel. Any drug that dries out your mouth, thereby depriving it of saliva, is suspect. These include over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, diet pills, and prescription medications for depression and high blood pressure.