Tips to Stop (and Prevent) Bad Breath

Bad breath is caused by bacteria or by lingering food and drink odors left in the mouth after eating. Garlic and onions release sulfur, known as the “rotten egg” smell for hours after you’ve eaten them. Not what you want to breathe at your colleagues at work or when you are hoping for some intimate moments.

Bad_Breath“The easiest way to stop bad breath is regular brushing and flossing,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “After each meal is a good idea, but at least twice a day, and for two minutes,” she adds. Most people hurry through brushing, skipping back teeth or not spending enough time to be thorough.

“Using an electric toothbrush with a timer helps you keep on track,” says Dr. Ford, “And new technology, like Sonicare’s AirFloss, helps make brushing your teeth accurate and easy—which means you will do it more and skip it less,” she adds.

If you can get floss between teeth and into the pockets of gum tissue around your teeth, you are disturbing and moving bacteria. If you have gum problems, and the pockets are deeper than 3mm, you will need to have a professional tooth cleaning to get ahead of bacterial growth.

When you do brush your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue. Your tongue can hold bacteria that give you bad breath. Brush your tongue from back to front, using gentle circle motions. Using a mouthwash can help kill bacteria, too.

Some other tips for preventing bad breath, according to WebMD:

1. Coffee gives you bad breath, so after you drink a cup, either drink water, brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum. Breath mints mask odor, but do not get rid of it.

2. Drink water to prevent dry mouth, to get rid of food particles and to disturb existing bacteria. Staying hydrated keeps your mouth moist and bacteria in check.

3. Cut back on alcohol. Beer, wine and hard liquor can make your mouth and body smell bad for 10 to 12 hours.

4. Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco or snuff. Your mouth is where digestion starts, and if you are digesting tobacco, you are going to smell like an ashtray.

5. Chew sugarless gum, sweetened with xylitol. Chewing gum stimulates saliva and helps you wash away bacteria and keep your mouth from going dry.

“See your dentist and hygienist regularly, too,” says Dr. Ford. “Regular visits prevent trouble and let a professional see what’s happening in your mouth where you can’t see. And that great clean feeling you have after a professional cleaning is the best reason to smile,” she adds.

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