Bad Breath Solutions: Hygiene, Diet and Breath Aids
What can you do for bad breath? If you have halitosis, try these strategies:
Use Good Dental Hygiene
Simply put, good dental hygiene prevents halitosis that originates in the mouth. Food debris between your teeth and around your gums creates an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath, so you need to remove it often.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss between each tooth daily, if not more often. Your dentist will tell you that brushing and flossing are particularly important after high-protein meals or other meals that trigger foul breath and dehydration.
Use antiseptic mouthwash in the morning, before bedtime and after eating, to reduce halitosis-causing bacteria growth. Antiseptic mouthwash ingredients vary from one product to another and may include chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, zinc chloride and oils (such as eucalyptus oil).
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Tongue scrapers are also useful in managing bad breath. Scrape the mucus off the back of the tongue, where bacteria may be present; do it gently, to avoid damage to the tongue.
If you have dental braces, dentures or other dental appliances, follow your dental professional's specific instructions for cleaning these appliances in order to avoid bad breath. This is especially true when it comes to appliances that you remove at night.
Maintain a Proper Diet
Diet plays a significant role in dental hygiene. Certain foods can promote saliva flow to limit the possibility of halitosis; one example is fibrous foods such as raw vegetables. And eating a healthy breakfast every morning starts saliva flow after a night's sleep when bacteria and odor tend to build up in your mouth.
Staying hydrated through sufficient water intake is also important for bad breath prevention. Sodas, juices and other drinks that are high in sugar and acid, however, will encourage growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.
Use Bad Breath Aids
Mouthwashes, mints and gum can freshen breath in the short term, but they can't prevent bad breath altogether. You may want to try these bad breath aids as well:
- Straws can send sugary or sticky liquids past the teeth and tongue, so they can't stay in the mouth and house bacteria. Straws are especially useful for the elderly, small children and disabled people, for whom proper dental hygiene may be difficult.
- For dry mouth sufferers, over-the-counter and prescription medications can help. Certain toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouth rinses and breath sprays are also made to relieve dry mouth. Ask your dentist which ones would be best for you.
If you have bad breath, discolored mucus, colored blotches or bumps on your tongue, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition such as oral thrush, oral herpes or oral cancer. See your doctor and dentist for a diagnosis.