How To Prevent Bad Breath

Posted on:

June 9, 2021

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common and embarrassing problem. It can cause self-consciousness and anxiety, especially if you regularly have face-to-face conversations with many people. 

Most of the time, bad breath is caused by poor dental and lifestyle habits. It can also be made worse by food items with strong odors like garlic, onion, cheese, etc. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath. 

People who suffer from halitosis are always trying to learn how to reduce bad breath or how to eliminate bad breath. “How to kill bad breath” is a particularly popular Google search. But it is just as important to know how to avoid bad breath, as prevention is always better than cure. Most of the time, simple self-care techniques and lifestyle changes can help reduce or remove bad breath. These techniques can also be used to maintain fresh breath and avoid bad breath and the problems it causes entirely. Here are some fresh breath tips that will also deal help with bad breath:

1. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day:

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste will remove the food debris and plaque. This will prevent the growth of bacteria and reduce bad breath. Brushing more than twice a day (particularly brushing after every meal) would not hurt either. Also, remember to replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months or after an illness to avoid bad breath.

2. Floss At Least Once A Day:

Flossing at least once a day gives you a fresh feeling in your mouth. Proper flossing will remove the food debris and plaque from between your teeth, which will reduce or even remove bad breath. Generally, it is advised to floss before you brush your teeth. If you brush and then floss, any food particles and bacteria lifted from between your teeth will remain in your mouth until the next time you brush. 

3. Brush Your Tongue:

Often, the bacteria that causes bad breath hides between your taste buds or the grooves on the back of your tongue. Carefully brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper will remove the bacteria from your tongue and reduce bad breath.

4. Rinse With A Mouthwash:

Rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least twice a day to avoid bad breath. Antiseptic mouthwash will kill the bacteria that cause bad breath and a fluoride rinse will help prevent tooth decay. Most mouthwashes are flavored with mint, which reduces bad odors and freshens your breath. Remember that mouthwash is to be used along with flossing and brushing. It is not to be used in place of either of them.

5. Clean Dentures Or Dental Appliances:

Dental appliances which do not fit properly or are not cleaned regularly can harbor food particles or odor-causing bacteria. If you wear removable dental bridges or dentures, remove them every night and clean them thoroughly before wearing them the next morning to avoid bad breath. For cleaning mouthguards or retainers, follow the dentist’s instructions carefully. Make sure you clean your dental appliances regularly and thoroughly to prevent bad breath.

6. Drink Water:

The medical condition known as “dry mouth” (also called xerostomia) can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate in the mouth. If these cells are not removed, they decompose, leading to bad breath. The best way to combat dry mouth is by drinking plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Drinking enough water every day will help you avoid or remove bad breath. By drinking 50 to 70 ounces of water daily, you will reduce bad breath by washing away the food particles and the dead cells. Don’t substitute water with coffee, soft drinks, or alcohol, as they will only lead to a drier mouth. 

7. Chew Sugarless Gum or Eat Sugarless Mints:

Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy will stimulate the production of saliva, which will reduce dry mouth and wash away food particles and bacteria. This will help reduce bad breath. Gum or candy containing xylitol (a low-calorie sugar substitute) will be best. Sugarless gums or mints are the most popular instant fresh breath tips. Keep in mind that this is a short-term remedy and will not help you remove bad breath entirely.

8. Adjust Your Diet:

If you eat food with strong odors like garlic or onions, the odor will not go away until the foods have passed through your body. In this case, brushing, flossing and even mouthwash are only temporary measures. So, as far as possible, avoid eating food items with strong odors. Eating a lot of sugary foods has also been linked to bad breath. Avoid eating too many sugary foods to prevent bad breath. Fasting and low-carb diets can also lead to bad breath. This is due to the breakdown of fats producing chemicals called ketones, which have a strong odor. So avoid such diets as much as possible. Eat more fruits and vegetables to help clear odor-causing bacteria and food particles from your mouth and reduce bad breath.

9. Avoid Smoking And Tobacco Products:

Smoking and tobacco dry out your mouth and leave an unpleasant taste. This unpleasant taste persists in your mouth even after brushing and causes bad breath. Try and stop using these products to remove or reduce persistent bad breath. It is best to avoid smoking and tobacco products entirely to avoid bad breath.

10. Visit The Dentist Regularly:

It is important to visit the dentist regularly, at least twice a year. Having your teeth checked and professionally cleaned will help remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar which cause bad breath. So, the best way to avoid persistent bad breath is to regularly get your teeth cleaned by the dentist. To learn more about teeth cleaning, click here.  

How To Prevent Bad Breath

Why Is Professional Teeth Cleaning Necessary?

Teeth cleaning or deep dental cleaning is necessary to avoid problems like bad breath, calculus teeth, tooth decay, and many more. Read more about teeth cleaning, its procedure and benefits from Dr. George Orfaly of Fisher and Dental.

Read more

It is important to know how to prevent bad breath or at least how to remove bad breath. If your bad breath remains even after trying the fresh breath tips above, visit the dentist and ask how to remove bad breath in your case. Make sure to do so because sometimes bad breath can be a symptom of a much more serious problem. Persistent bad breath can be a warning of gum (periodontal) disease caused by the build-up of plaque on the teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form, which irritates the gums. If gum disease is left untreated, it can damage the gums and the jawbone. Bad breath can also be a symptom of cavities or an infection in the nose, throat, or mouth. So, if your bad breath persists even after making lifestyle and dietary changes then visit the dentist as soon as possible. In such cases it is better to identify and treat the disease as soon as possible, to prevent more problems in the future. If the dentist determines that your bad breath is not of oral origin, then you may be referred to a physician for further evaluation.

This blog was first posted on September 26, 2018, and updated on June 9, 2021.

About the author

Dr. George Orfaly

Dr. George Orfaly, D.M.D.

Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.

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