How to Fight Off Every Cause of Bad Breath

There are few things more off-putting than being in close proximity to someone with chronic bad breath. We've all been there before, and we all hope that we're not the ones on the offending end. WebMD describes bad breath as the result of poor dental habits, and points out that it may be a sign of other health problems. (See also: 11 Surprising Benefits Of: Chewing Gum)

So how do you fight this embarrassing condition? Take a look at several ways to breathe easier and more pleasant by using what's in your arsenal to battle those bad-breath bullies.

1. Take Good Care of Your Mouth

One major cause of bad breath comes from the food we eat. Food particles can stay in your mouth and promote bacterial growth. But there's also a pesky problem of food with strong odors (like onions and garlic) being digested, absorbed into the bloodstream, carried to your lungs, and released through your mouth as a malicious odor. Brush your teeth and your tongue twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, replace your toothbrush every two to three months, and thoroughly clean dentures each morning if you have them.

2. Rinse After Eating and Drinking

If you don't have a toothbrush handy at all times (although you might want to think about keeping one at work at the very least), it's wise to rinse after eating and drinking, so you can flush out the food particles and reduce the opportunity for bad breath to gestate. Personally, I do this after every meal; I'm not a big fan of leftovers sticking around my mouth for too long. As a result, I'm kissably fresh all day long.

3. Visit the Dentist Regularly

Your bad breath may be a result of periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that your dentist can diagnose and treat when you visit at least twice yearly for a checkup and cleaning.

4. Cut Back on Coffee and Alcohol

"Coffee and alcohol are both responsible for causing a decrease in salivary flow," says celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Joseph Banker. While it may be extreme to stop drinking these beverages altogether, you may want to cut back considerably if you're battling bad breath. Saliva helps keep your mouth from getting dry and removes food particles, both of which are catalysts for bad breath.

5. Stop Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Easier said than done, I know. But kicking the habit is one giant leap toward fresher breath — and a longer life. According to Oral-B, bad breath is an early sign of oral cancer. "Smoking is more than just a cause of bad breath — it significantly raises your risk of developing oral cancer, which includes cancer of the mouth, throat, salivary glands, tongue or lip." But you already knew that.

6. Drink More Water

Water is the best thing for your body that you can drink, and it also can combat bad breath by keeping your whistle wet. Water helps keep your mouth moist, which is a good start since dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Another benefit to drinking more water than other beverages is that you'll allow fewer bad-breath-causing agents into your body, like you would from coffee or soda. Need more convincing? Water helps produce "plenty of saliva because it helps clean your mouth; it's naturally antibacterial, and it washes away food particles." On another note, "chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Gums and mints containing xylitol are best," advises WebMD.

7. Eat More Yogurt

"Japanese investigators in a 2005 study found that yogurt, because of its probiotics, helped fight bad breath by reducing levels of hydrogen sulfide, a leading cause of bad breath," says Faina Dendze, a spokesperson for Maia Greek Yogurt. Twenty-four volunteers participated in this study, and 80% experienced a reduction in bad breath, which was attributed to eating sugarless yogurt over a period of two weeks. The study also found that levels of plaque and gingivitis were also lower among yogurt eaters.

8. Eat Less Meat (and Possibly More Carbs)

It's not entirely hard to believe that meat is a bad-breath culprit; it's so easy for those particles to get stuck in your mouth. And unfortunately, you may have to cut back on your carnivorous ways if you want better-smelling breath. "High-protein and low-carb diets, while a possible boon to your waist size, aren't great for your breath. Eating fewer than 100 grams of carbohydrates a day triggers a condition known as ketosis, a metabolic state that causes your body to burn fat instead of sugar. Ketosis is notorious for causing bad breath."

9. Try Natural, Herbal Remedies

Green tea helps your breath stay fresh because of its antibacterial compounds that naturally fight germs. Add a cinnamon stick to pack even more punch since cinnamon is ripe with essential oils to fight bad breath. You also can go the fresh herb route by chewing on the like of mint, parsley, cilantro, and dill, which themselves offer only a temporary solution while the high levels of chlorophyll in the herbs can provide longer lasting relief.

10. Keep a Log of the Foods You Eat

Keep a diary of the food you eat and bring it to the dentist so she can provide expert advice on the major bad breath culprits. The medications you're taking (if any) may also be contributors, so it's best to bring a list of those as well.

Do you have other ways to get prevent or eliminate bad breath? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture
So obvious.......

All the nine reasons listed are so obvious. I have a better idea....PULL OUT ALL THE TEETH.

Guest's picture

I have to say your numbering is a little off on this one:

1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6, 5, 7, 8, 9

That's a very interesting way of counting to 10 :)