Bad breath or Halitosis can dampen your confidence and ruin your social life. VideoJug have spoken to the British Dental Health Foundation to show you how to cure bad breath.
You will need
- Flouride toothpaste
- Sugar Free Chewing Gum or Mints
How do I know?
It’s difficult to tell if you have bad breath- an easier indicator may be the reactions of other people. Do people back away slightly when you start to speak? Do people turn their cheek when you kiss them goodbye? If you’re worried you might have bad breath, try this simple test: lick the inside of your wrist, leave it to dry for a few seconds, then sniff. If it smells bad, your breath may too. You need a second opinion. Ask a trusted friend to smell your breath, and tell you if it smells. If they’re a good friend, they’ll tell you the truth.
Some people’s bad breath is as a result of gum disease or infection. If this is the case it will often be accompanied by visible signs. If your gums appear swollen or bleeding, then this may contribute to your bad breath. You should seek advice from your dentist.
Avoid smoking / alcohol / spicy food
Smoking is one of the primary causes of bad breath. When you smoke the chemicals in the smoke create a lining on the tongue which causes a lingering smell of stale tobacco. The only remedy for this is to kick the habit. Watch VJ’s “Tops Tips For Giving Up Smoking” for more on this. Dehydration – a common side-effect of drinking alcohol – can make bad breath worse, so if you drink a lot try cutting down your intake. Also avoid foods containing a lot of garlic, onion and strong spices, as the smell of these can linger on your breath.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Quite apart from the well documented health benefits, a healthy breakfast can help with bad breath. Eating a coarse breakfast cereal like muesli, or a variety of hard fibrous fruit can help to clean the tongue as you chew and rid the mouth of odour-causing bacteria. Make sure you brush your teeth after breakfast though, so that you get rid of any food stuck in your teeth. You should wait an hour after eating before brushing your teeth.
Brush teeth twice a day
Overnight, saliva flow is drastically reduced and the tongue and cheeks move very little. Food residue and dead skin cells from inside the mouth do not get washed away as they do during the day, instead remaining in the mouth and stagnating. The result is the bane of early-bird lovers everywhere, commonly known as morning breath. Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning should clean the mouth and get rid of the bad smell.
During the day, any number of foodstuffs pass through your mouth, leaving their residue to make its mark on your breath. Cleaning your teeth before you go to bed helps to clear the mouth of the food remains which would stagnate so well overnight. Brushing your teeth twice a day also helps to fight plaque and reduces the likelihood of gum disease, both of which are contributors to bad breath. Watch VJ’s “How To Brush Your Teeth” for some tips.
Food residue and bacteria can also build up on your tongue, and if left to their own devices can cause a bad smell. While brushing your teeth, use the toothbrush to firmly but carefully brush the top and sides of your tongue.
Mouthwash can be an effective way of masking the bad smell of your halitosis, but will do little to deal with the root problem. If you’re going to use a mouthwash, you should make sure it is alcohol free, and that it contains fluoride. If you are suffering from gum disease, your dentist will be able to recommend a medicated mouthwash which will help to treat the problem.
Chew sugar-free gum
The mint flavour in most chewing gums will mask a bad odour, but chewing gum also has longer term benefits. Chewing encourages the flow of saliva which helps to shift those odour-causing bacteria and neutralises the acid in the mouth. Make sure that the gum you choose is sugar free, otherwise you run the risk of the sugar rotting your teeth.
If you’ve tried all of these things and you still have problems with bad breath, it’s possible you could be suffering from a more complex medical condition such as acid reflux – stomach acids returning to the throat during digestion – or problems with your tonsils. Your dentist may refer to you your GP for an ear nose and throat check up.
Cure your bad breath today.