It's easy to improve your breath and keep your teeth and gums healthy at the same time. Try these simple steps to make your mouth feel fresh and clean.
1. Brush and floss more often.
Plaque, the sticky buildup on your teeth, is bacteria that can cause bad breath. Trapped food also adds to the problem.
Brush your teeth at least two times each day, and floss at least once. Make sure you spend at least TWO minutes when you brush.
Always use a soft-bristled brush to prevent excessive wear at the gum line of your teeth.
2. Rinse your mouth.
Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath. Don't just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breath at its source.
You can also help your breath if you swish your mouth with plain water after you eat. It can get rid of food particles that get stuck in your teeth.
3. Scrape your tongue.
The coating that normally forms on your tongue can be a host for smelly bacteria. To get rid of them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush.
You can also use a tongue scraper, that can be purchased almost anywhere that carries dental products. A plastic spoon can also do this job very well.
4. Avoid foods that sour your breath.
Onions and garlic are big offenders. Unfortunately, brushing after you eat them doesn't help.
The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out, says dentist Richard Price, DMD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association.
The best way to stop the problem? Don't eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.
5. Kick the tobacco habit.
Besides causing cancer, smoking can damage your gums, stain your teeth, and give you bad breath.
Over-the-counter nicotine gum, lozenges and patches can help tame the urge. If you need a little help, make an appointment with your doctor or dentist to talk about quit-smoking programs or prescription medications that can help you give up tobacco for good.
6. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.
The bacteria in your mouth love sugar. They use it to make acid. This wears down your teeth and causes bad breath. Chew sugarless gum instead. Gum stimulates saliva which is your mouth's natural defense against acids and food debris.
7. Keep your gums healthy.
Gum disease is one of the primary causes of bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.
If you have gum (periodontal) disease, the pockets around your teeth may be too deep for you to keep clean. Your dentist may recommend additional treatment to control and improve your oral health.
8. Moisten your mouth.
You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don't make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.
Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. Also try a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your house.
9. See your dentist.
If your bad breath continues despite your best efforts, your dentist may refer you to your primary care doctor to determine if your bad breath is related to an underlying medical condition.
You don't have to suffer the embarrassment of bad breath. Ask us how we can help!