Do you find yourself thinking, “My breath always stinks, no matter what?”
You’re not alone. The numbers of people suffering from bad breath in North America are staggering.
It’s hard to believe it, but researchers say some 80 million Americans suffer from either severe halitosis or some form of bad breath. Across the world, 35-45% of individuals endure the effects of chronic “dragon breath.”
It’s a puzzling conundrum when you consider that every year, Americans spend over $10 billion on oral hygiene products such as mouthwashes, toothpaste brands, and dental floss. Even worse, 71% of bad breath sufferers have to consider painful and sometimes invasive surgery in an attempt to eliminate halitosis.
These options work in about 3% of cases.
So what’s a bad breath sufferer to do? Chronic unpleasant breath has real social consequences: Dating studies show that bad breath is the third most unattractive trait. It can impede the quality of your relationships and even your professional life.
Luckily, there are 10 tips to help eliminate bad breath you can do right at home. But first, let’s look at a few potential causes of your bad breath problem.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
There are two prevalent causes of bad breath. Failing to address these can lead to a more persistent form of bad breath known as halitosis.
Food is the primary culprit, and poor hygiene is the secondary culprit that usually compounds food-related bad breath.
When food particles get trapped in your mouth, they can remain hidden for hours. When these particles break down, they add to the bacterial and germ population within the mouth. If you’re not maintaining oral hygiene by brushing regularly, and in specific ways, you’re prone to developing bad breath.
There are some foods that are more responsible for attracting these bacteria and emitting a foul odor than others. Garlic is a common first guess, but a diet high in sugary foods is likely to lead to long-lasting bad breath. Sugar degrades the enamel of the teeth, and an excess of it can result in an unhealthy, unbalanced gut.
A poor diet without the digestive enzymes you need means food doesn’t break down as it should in your gut. So when it fails to break down, it simply sits there and decomposes, letting out an unsavory smell that travels up to your throat and mouth.
What’s the Difference Between Halitosis And Bad Breath?
Where does bad breath come from? Often, remedies like mouthwash don’t work because the source of bad breath goes much deeper.
Having morning breath is understandable – going that long without eating, drinking, or brushing is bound to give you a bit of stinky breath. If you have bad breath no matter what you do, you may be a halitosis sufferer.
Halitosis is a chronic condition that simple brushing or minting up can’t cover up. This chronic form of bad breath comes from a variety of sources, including:
- Gum disease (infection of the teeth and gums): bacteria multiply below the surface of the gums, causing inflammation and releasing sulfur compounds
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Dry mouth or stagnation of saliva (saliva has an antimicrobial effect)
- Untreated dental decay (cavities)
- Yeast infections of the mouth
- Coated tongue: a white or yellow coating on the tongue
- Infections: sore throats, sinus and ear infections (since the ear, nose, throat, and mouth are connected)
- Intestinal/digestive disorders: ulcers, poor gut flora, lactose intolerance
- Poor diet that is high in fried foods, foods with high trans-fats, sticky foods like caramel, sweetened beverages, and sugary snacks
The most significant difference between halitosis and common, treatable bad breath is that the former is often a consequence of a more serious underlying issue. If it doesn’t go away within 24 to 48 hours, chances are you have halitosis. Consult your dentist or doctor for options in these scenarios.
What Works for Bad Breath?
Not all bad breath is created equal. Bad breath that’s not related to oral hygiene might need more creative, alternative responses. Depending on the severity, bad breath can be kept at bay using:
- Natural toothpaste
- Mouth rinses
- Treatment of dental diseases
Eliminating bad breath that’s more chronic and persistent requires equal commitment and a plan from your side.
Take two or more of these 10 tips to help eliminate bad breath, incorporate them into your life regularly, and give yourself a period of 30 to 60 days to see if there’s a change in your breath.
10 Tips to Help Eliminate Bad Breath
If you plan to eliminate bad breath, you’ll need to make sure you’re monitoring the effectiveness and progress of these solutions. You should also make sure you’re scheduling regular dental cleaning alongside these remedies.
1) Reduce Sugar Intake
Diets that are high in sugar or fructose eventually lead to an influx in mouth and gum bacteria. Grains are another source of odorous trouble as well, because this kind of dietary inclusion can lead to yeast and candida overgrowth in the gut.
2) Avoid Dry Mouth
Coffee is a diuretic, which means that it dehydrates you. Soft drinks and alcohol-based beverages similarly dry your mouth. Make sure you’re getting at least five to eight glasses.
The idea is to stimulate saliva because it has a natural antimicrobial effect. You can even suck on sugarless candy to stimulate the flow of saliva if you find you experience chronic dry mouth.
3) Consume More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil contain medium-chain fatty acids. These include lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. These fatty acids are antimicrobial in nature and support both dental and gut health.
4) Munch and Crunch The Right Foods for Your Mouth
Mastication of the right foods can do a lot for your mouth.
Stagnant, dry mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria. If you keep your mouth in motion – and snack on the right munchies – you can go a long way in keeping your teeth and gums in use.
For clean mouth purposes, you can chew on:
- Apples, which contain pectin, controlling food odor and promoting saliva production
- Cinnamon, which is antimicrobial
- Carrots, celery, and crushed walnuts
- Leafy green herbs such as parsley, basil, mint, and cilantro
Even though it’s not crunchy, you can also use yogurt to rebuild active cultures in your gut and mouth, counteracting oral bacteria.
5) Brush Your Teeth Immediately After Eating
Addressing your dental hygiene is key to supporting your bad breath elimination techniques. Make sure you’re implementing regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings into your bad-breath-cleanup regime.
Dental issues like caries, gingivitis, and periodontal disease can sneak up on you too. Remember that dental clinic visits are more than functional – they’re preventative!
6) Use Tongue Scraping
Many toothbrushes today come with a tongue scraper on the back. If you’re prone to developing a white or yellow coating on your tongue, this will go a long way in keeping bacteria off.
7) Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Over time, bacteria can build up on brush heads, so replacing them is the smart thing to do. Best practice is to replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months. If you’re concerned about the ecological footprint you’re leaving, you can always opt for brushes made out of natural materials like bamboo.
8) Use Antiseptic Seeds
Like the prescribed herbs parsley and cilantro, seeds like cloves, fennel, and anise have antiseptic properties. They can stop the rise of bacteria in your mouth and can even treat mild toothaches.
9) Use an Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
If you’re supposed to avoid alcoholic-based beverages because they dry out your mouth, why is it okay to have alcohol in your mouthwash?
The truth is, it’s not. Alcohol gives a burning sensation which, along with the inclusion of mint in your mouthwash solution, makes you feel like you’re getting a clean mouthfeel. Instead, the 27% alcohol contributes to a drier mouth and creates an anaerobic, bacteria-friendly environment.
Instead of store-bought mouthwashes, opt to make your own. Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of bak…” with “Instead of making own mouthwash, stores have options for alcohol-free mouthwashes.
If you have bad breath here in Lehi, UT, no matter what, consider using some of these 10 tips in conjunction with each other. For example, you can use a tongue scraper and then plan on an apple for breakfast.
The last thing you want to do is cover up or mask your bad breath. Work with your dentist to address halitosis in an ongoing manner. It takes a while, but your persistent bad breath can clear up if you’re more stubborn than it is.