Approximately 30 percent of people worldwide are affected by halitosis—more commonly referred to as bad breath—an embarrassing condition that is characterized by “a foul-smelling odor that seems to come from the mouth cavity,” says TheraBreath.com.
There are a variety of different causes that can lead to halitosis, including diet, the use of tobacco products, as well as medical conditions like dry mouth. Fortunately, the following six tips will help to treat and further prevent the symptoms of bad breath.
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Improper or infrequent teeth brushing and flossing is one of the primary causes of halitosis, as WebMD says food particles can “promote bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue.” Therefore, improving these oral hygiene habits is one of the easiest ways to treat the condition, and prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
The source suggests brushing “twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque,” as well as flossing frequently and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Remember to brush the tongue too, as MedicalNewsToday.com says that “bacteria, food and dead cells commonly build up on the tongue,” especially in people who smoke or suffer from dry mouth.
2. Book Regular Dental Appointments
Along with consistent brushing and flossing, good oral hygiene involves regular check-up appointments with your dentist—at least twice per year is the recommended frequency.
The NHS says these check-ups are important because the dentist can “ensure any plaque and calculus – previously known as tartar – is removed from your teeth, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach.” Additionally, they will be able to detect if you have problems like periodontal disease or dry mouth that are contributing to your bad breath.
3. Stop Smoking
Using tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco are common contributors of halitosis. In addition to causing bad breath, eMedicineHealth.com says they also “stain teeth, irritate gum tissue, and exacerbate tooth decay.”
TheraBreath.com adds that “people who smoke may also engage in other habits that promote this condition such as dieting, drinking alcohol, and suffering from chronic anxiety conditions that require exacerbating prescription medications.” Therefore, quitting smoking or other tobacco products is essential to treating halitosis, as well as preventing further occurrence in future.
4. Stay Hydrated
According to the Colgate-Palmolive Company, “drinking enough water is one of the simplest steps you can take to curb bad breath.” This is because water helps to fend off the development of bacteria by keeping the mouth well hydrated and producing enough saliva.
WebMD adds that sugarless gums and candy—particularly those containing xylitol—can “also stimulate the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.
5. Adjust Your Diet
Certain foods like onions, garlic, and spicy food are commonly linked with bad breath, as are sugary foods, coffee, and alcohol. The Colgate-Palmolive Company explains that this is because “acids and sugars increase production of bacteria and bad breath.” As such, these foods are best avoided.
For alternative choices, the source suggests eating whole grains, green and orange vegetables, fruits, and a variety of protein sources. In addition to decreasing sugar intake, these foods are said to “increase saliva flow,” which helps to prevent bad breath from occurring.
6. Try Natural Remedies
In addition to the previously mentioned treatment options, there are a variety of natural remedies that can help with halitosis. The Colgate-Palmolive Company says that herbs like fennel “have long been used in some cultures as a breath sweetener,” in addition to containing antibacterial properties and increasing the production of saliva in the mouth.
TheraBreath.com adds that taking supplements such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B are effective treatment options as they “help your body eliminate excess mucus and toxins naturally.” And drinking green and black teas can also help to prevent bad breath, because they “contain polyphenols that help eliminate sulfur compounds and reduce oral bacteria.”