5 Tips for Better Breath
It’s one thing to wake up with unpleasant breath in the morning, but persistent bad breath isn’t something that should become normal. Halitosis is a condition that is not uncommon; around 25% of the population of the United States has some degree of bad breath. Good news–with a few hygiene changes, it’s an easy fix! Here are 5 tips to help make your breath a little fresher:
1. Brush your teeth!
This may seem like an obvious fix, but it’s something we don’t do enough. Some people think it’s enough just to brush in the morning after breakfast, but the nighttime is the best time for bacteria to colonize our mouths. Brushing with a sturdy toothbrush, preferably an electric one, at LEAST twice a day helps prevent layers of bacteria from forming on your oral surfaces and further alleviates smelly breath.
2. Make sure you’re using toothpaste with fluoride.
If you’re a tap water drinker, you may think the fluoride in your water is enough to protect the enamel of your teeth. While this additional source can be a supplement, the most important source of fluoride is in your toothpaste. Next time you visit the dentist, ask what he or she recommends specifically for your teeth, or just make sure to grab a tube of fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. Including this fluoride in your brushing routine restores enamel and makes your mouth an unfriendly environment for potential bacterial invaders.
Adding two extra minutes to our twice-daily routine can seem like too much work, but it’s the easiest thing we can do to prevent halitosis. Lots of bacteria and extra food hide between our pearly whites, and by thoroughly flossing once a day at minimum, you’ll make sure to decontaminate every nook and cranny inside your mouth. Here’s a bonus tip–get some floss with some added minty freshness to make your teeth feel extra clean!
4. Invest in some good mouthwash.
If you’ve had chronic bad breath, surely this is something you’ve already tried. If it’s a part of your normal routine, keep it there! If not, consider adding mouthwash to your docket for your mornings and evenings. Listerine and Colgate both make mouthwashes that include fluoride and breath freshening agents that are easily available at the grocery store or at your dentist.
5. Don’t forget about your tongue!
If you suffer from bad breath, you may notice a fuzzy white layer covering your tongue. If this is easily visible in your mouth, it means you have LOTS of bacteria nested there! Making a few passes over your tongue with your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth can reduce this layer down to almost nothing. Another bonus tip–instead of moving your toothbrush from the front to the back of your mouth, which makes some people gag, try moving your toothbrush side to side to get the same result without turning your tummy. Also, most non-electric toothbrushes have a soft pad on the back side of the toothbrush head that can be used as a “tongue brush” for routine maintenance once the fuzzy layer is gone.
If you’re concerned about your halitosis, it might be a good idea to bring it up to your dentist next time you’re in for a cleaning. Until then, brush, floss, and rinse away!