The causes of bad breath aren’t clear cut, and vary for each person. For some, it’ll be because of built up plaque and the need for better cleaning, while for others it’ll be the result of what they last ate. To make matters worse, the oil in food gets carried into the bloodstream and materialises in air passed out the lungs. That’s bad news for anyone who had onions in their sandwich for lunch. Thankfully, we’re here to offer you some killer tips for cracking down on bad breath. If these don’t do the trick, try looking into one of our more indepth guides, and if the problem persists, you may need to visit your dentist to get to the root of the problem.
1. Morning breath
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one, morning breath is a fact of life. It’s also one of the most disheartening aspects of waking up; if you’re not a morning person, it underscores the misery of having to leave your bed. So what causes it? Why, when you don’t eat in your sleep (duh) do we wake up with such an atrocious smell and taste in our mouths? Well, that’ll be because we don’t produce as much saliva during the night. Seeing as saliva contains oxygen, and oxygen helps inhibit bacteria growth which leads to bad breath, we can pretty much blame the whole stinky situation on saliva. Thanks a lot saliva. But then again, it’s better than drooling the whole night. To reduce morning breath, try drinking a glass of water before bed and when you wake up. Then, make sure you give your teeth and tongue a good scrub. But what can we learn from morning breath? During the day the amount of saliva your mouth produced goes up and down. So it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water on you to wet your whistle whenever your mouth gets a little dry.
2. Avoid foods that cause bad breath
Remember how we were saying that the oil in food gets passed into your bloodstream, and then into your lungs? Well, the oil in some foods smell worse than others like animal. We don’t need to give you a list of those foods just smell for yourself. Onions, garlic, cheese, milk, coffee, butter and meat are some of the most pungent foods, and so you may want to lay off such foods if you’ve got a hot date. It’s also worth noting that eating mints won’t help you. Although it’ll mask the smells of bad breath temporarily, the sugar in sweets and mints encourages the growth of bacteria, which leads to bad breath. So unless you’re eating sugarfree mints, you’re probably doing more harm than good.
3. Eat foods that reduce smell
Some foods can help reduce bad breath. Although it may only temporary, as Gerald P. Curatola , DDS, clinical associate professor at the New York University College of Dentistry notes, certain foods can ward off smelly odours that result from eating foods like onions and garlic. Eating mint, parsley, green fruit, green tea, cumin and basil are known to be helpful in masking bad odours for a few hours. This is because chlorophyll is present in all of the listed foods, which helps to neutralise the inside of your mouth. Fruit, nuts, yoghurt and other naturally occurring foods are also helpful, either because they’re bursting full of vitamins or encourage the product of saliva. Melon and berries are, for example, chocked full of vitamin C, which bacteria has a serious distaste for. Nuts are particularly good, according to Curatola, as they act as ‘tiny toothbrushes’, preventing bacteria from staining the teeth. So to keep your breath in check, make sure you snack on natural foods.
4. Brush regularly
This one’s a bit of a nobrainer. Your mouth gets in contact with all kinds of things during the day, and by the time you’re ready for bed, it's crawling with millions of bacteria. Bacteria is the root cause of bad breath, and so it makes sense to kill it when you can. Brushing your teeth thoroughly, with a clean and effective toothbrush, is the best way to keep on top of bad breath. Brush your teeth every each meal, after your sugary snack and the coffee as carbs especially foster the bacteria mucus in your mouth. Don't worry if your colleagues snigger at you brushing your teeth in the bathroom.
5. Clean your tongue
The tongue is often the cause of bad breath. It acts like a sponge, soaking up dead cells, leftover food and bacteria. In other words, the perfect cocktail for bad breath. Luckily for us, there’s a simple way to solve the problem of tongue related halitosis: cleaning it. This can be done quite simply by brushing it with a squeeze of toothpaste in the morning and evening. It’ll make you gag, sure, but you’ll have to do it if you want to rinse out that sponge we keep in our mouths! If you wanted to go one step further, consider giving your tongue a quick brush after lunch. Usually it only takes the best part of 30 seconds to clean your tongue, and doing this simple task after eating an odorous meal or a hot coffee may be the difference of the conversation or revulsion of your coworkers.
By the way... by cleaning your tongue, you’ll also remove bacteria that can spread to your teeth and lead to plaque. So it’s a win-win all round!