The mouth is home to millions of bacteria, some of them good and some bad. In fact, half of the bacteria in your mouth can lead to bad breath! National Fresh Breath Day is observed every year on August 6th to create awareness of oral hygiene in the fight against bad breath. It is a daily battle, and how you handle it makes all the difference in the world of healthy smiles.
**How Halitosis Thrives**
Halitosis, or bad breath, has quite a few causes, and it’s not those garlicky, oniony foods you like so much. Eating pungent food, dry mouth, gum disease and tobacco use are frequent contributors to why your breath is less than stellar. Halitosis also shows up if you have underlying medical conditions and as a medication side effect.
Thankfully, daily brushing and flossing lessen the bacterial activity in the mouth, so your breath smells better. Cleaning your mouth is especially helpful when wearing braces because they can harbor food particles and oral residue. If you’re out and about and can’t clean your mouth after eating, you can also chew sugarless gum or sugar-free mints. These boost your mouth’s natural bacteria-fighting resource, saliva, which helps rinse away bacteria and bits of food particles. So, what can you do to keep your breath fresh?
**How to Keep Your Breath Fresh**
-Brush twice a day and floss daily to get rid of bacterial plaque. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
-Upgrade your toothpaste to one that fights oral bacteria on your tongue, cheeks and gums.
-Keep routine dental cleanings and checkups to remove bacteria buildup under the gum line and tartar that can’t be removed with a toothbrush and dental floss alone.
-Clean your dental appliances daily; this includes cleaning dentures, retainers and mouth guards daily to remove plaque.
-Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill bad bacteria.
-Since sugar causes bad breath, only chew sugar-free gum, and limit your intake of sweetened drinks like soda.
-Tuck some breath mints into your pocket or bag when you are on the go.
-Prevent dry mouth and wash out the mouth by drinking lots of water throughout your day.
-Snack on raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, celery, or carrots that scrape away bad breath causing bacteria.
-Give up smoking!
-Take a vitamin C supplement since a deficiency can lead to bad breath.
If you are struggling with bad breath, add a tongue scraper to your daily brushing and flossing routine to remove bacterial plaque. If you wake up in the morning and see a coating on your tongue when looking into the mirror, scraping it off can do wonders for your breath.
Drinking plenty of water throughout your busy day isn’t just good for your body and waistline. Staying hydrated promotes saliva production! Saliva is your mouth’s natural line of defense against oral bacteria leading to halitosis. Conversely, alcohol dries out the mouth, so limiting your consumption is a good idea.
_Fun fact: Eating parsley with your meal has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help your breath smell cleaner. Basil, mint, or cilantro also neutralize odors with their chlorophyll. Eat more plain yogurt since it fights oral bacteria, and chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol to keep your saliva flowing._
Take this month to check in on your breath to see if it’s as fresh as it can be. If you find that you have chronic bad breath, it may be time to schedule a visit with our dental team to make sure you don’t have an underlying condition like gum disease. Treating the causes of bad breath will help your mouth stay healthier, fresher and more appealing!