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How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath
Get rid of bad breath in no time! Learn what causes bad breath, how to prevent bad breath and how to get rid of bad breath with simple solutions and natural remedies.
Between 35 and 45 percent of the people in the world have some level of halitosis or bad breath, however everyone suffers from bad breath at some point in their life and at sometime of the day.
Researchers estimate that over 80 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis. At least 99% of everyone else has bad breath in the morning.
Dating studies show that bad breath is among the 3 most unattractive traits in dating prospects.
Since bad breath is such a common and annoying problem, let’s see what causes it and what can be done about it.
How to tell if you have bad breath?
Since it’s easy to become used to your own smell and do not tend to notice your own bad breath, there are a few ways to tell if you have bad breath (in case nobody else let you know about it!).
For a bad breath diagnosis, tests can be performed at home, such as gently scraping the back of your tongue with a plastic spoon and smelling the drying residue.
Another simple test to find out whether you have bad breath is to lick the inside of your wrist with the back of your tongue and wait for a few seconds until the saliva dries. If your wrist smells unpleasant, it’s likely your breath does too.
Professional tests include organoleptic measurements by a trained dental clinician and other molecular gas and enzyme detecting devices that will determine the amount of sulfurous compounds in the mouth air.
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath
If you have bad breath it’s time to learn which are the possible causes of bad breath, and also what simple changes and natural bad breath remedies you can use right now in order to make your breath smell good.
There can be many causes for bad breath. Some of the most common ones are bad oral hygiene, insufficient saliva production during sleep (morning bad breath), some type of medication, certain types of food and drink, alcohol and, of course, smoking.
In certain cases, bad breath is the symptom of a disease, usually of acid reflux disease.
Let’s analyze the most common bad breath causes and their possible solutions.
Bad Breath Cause #1: Bad Oral Hygiene
If you brush your teeth irregularly and often find yourself forgetting to brush your teeth due to your hectic schedule / responsibilities / circumstances (fill in your excuse!), then no wonder you have bad breath. According to specialists, 90% of the unpleasant breath smells are due to bacteria which combine with saliva to break down food particles and proteins -this releases an unpleasant-smelling gas.
If you do brush your teeth regularly (2-3 times a day), the problem can be the toothbrush you use or your tooth brushing technique.
How to get rid of bad breath: improve your oral hygiene
You should use a soft-bristled brush, either manual or electric, but when deciding for which one to go, keep in mind that electric toothbrushes can make it easier to do a better job.
Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, and make a back and forth motion using short strokes. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke. Pay particular attention to where the teeth meet the gum. Brush outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and your tongue. The tongue should be brushed in a gentle but thorough manner, from the back towards the front of the tongue, keeping in mind that the hardest to reach back portion smells the worst.
Also, it’s important to brush for at least 2 minutes (to make it easier and more effective, divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each).
Always clean between your teeth with dental floss or small interdental brushes and use mouthwash. Chemicals in the mouthwash aim to kill germs (bacteria) and/or neutralize any chemicals that cause bad breath.
Last but not least, change your toothbrush every 3 or 4 months or when the bristles lose their normal flexibility and start to break apart, whichever comes first.
Your breath should smell fresh after brushing your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends to wait approximately 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. Digestion of food takes time and acid from foods still attacks teeth up to 30 minutes afterward. If you are waiting 30 minutes and you still have bad breath after brushing, you should see a doctor, as chronic bad breath can be a symptom of other medical conditions.
Bad Breath Cause #2: Dry Mouth (Insufficient Saliva Production)
Saliva, the clear, watery liquid made by several glands in your mouth area, fights germs in your mouth and prevents tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause bad breath.
Reduced saliva flow at night explains why your breath smells bad when you wake up in the morning (the dreaded morning breath).
However, certain prescription and nonprescription drugs can decrease saliva production, causing chronic dry mouth and, consequently, chronic bad breath.
Other causes of dry mouth are radiation treatments to treat cancerous tumors of the head and neck, salivary gland diseases, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, mouth breathing, sleep apnea, pregnancy or breastfeeding (due to dehydration and hormonal changes), and dehydration.
How to get rid of bad breath: improve saliva flow
If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor (he may adjust the dose you’re taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth).
To improve saliva flow, you can chew sugar-free gum, drink water more frequently throughout the day, especially while eating, use fluoride toothpaste and antimicrobial mouthwash, breath mostly through your nose, use a room vaporizer to add moisture to the air, or use an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.
Bad Breath Cause #3: Constipation
Research indicates that up to 25% of all cases of bad breath can be caused by constipation. Undigested food that stagnates for a long time in your stomach and intestines, either because you ate too much or because of its low fiber content, can cause bad breath.
How to get rid of bad breath: improve your bowel movements / prevent constipation
To improve bowel function doctors recommend regular exercise, a diet rich in fiber and low in fat and drinking lots of water (at least 6-8 glasses per day).
If possible, increase your physical activity as this helps to increase bowel activity and prevent constipation.
Fruit and vegetables are high in dietary fiber, which normalizes bowel movements and decreases your chance of constipation. They also have a high water, which helps with bad breath.
Bad Breath Cause #4: Gingivitis
Persistent bad breath can sometimes be a sign of gum disease.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gums in response to bacterial buildup on the teeth, which is known as plaque. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums.
Because gingivitis makes the gums swollen and tender, the gums are very likely to bleed frequently. This bleeding can actually contribute to the symptoms of bad breath because the proteins in the blood provide more material for the bacteria to feed off of.
How to get rid of bad breath: prevent / treat gingivitis
Good dental hygiene is a key factor in preventing gingivitis. Frequent dental care visits and brushing, flossing and mouth washes can help treat gingivitis as well as the bad breath it causes. Also, lemons and oranges are especially helpful in treating gingivitis due to their high vitamin C content, which stabilizes the small blood vessels in the gums.
Bad Breath Cause #5: Periodontitis (Periodontal Gum Disease)
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis is caused by certain bacteria (known as periodontal bacteria) and by the local inflammation triggered by those bacteria.
Periodontitis is directly related to bad breath since the bacteria responsible for periodontal inflammation are also responsible for bad breath. Gum disease is the second cause of bad breath and the first source of bad breath in people over the age of 35, as gum disease risk increases with age.
How to get rid of bad breath: prevent / treat periodontitis
It’s always easier to prevent periodontitis than to treat it. The best way to prevent periodontitis is to follow a program of good oral hygiene:
- brush your teeth twice a day or, better yet, after every meal or snack
- floss before you brush
- see your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for cleanings, usually every six to 12 months.
Go see a dentist as soon as you get any symptoms of gingivitis. If the damage has been done and you already progressed to periodontitis, don’t postpone any longer and make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
You have the best chance for successful treatment when you adopt a daily routine of good oral care.
Bad Breath Cause #6: Illness
Bad breath is common in people who suffer from hepatic or renal insufficiency, diabetes or acid reflux disease. Bad breath can also come be caused by respiratory tract infections (throat infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis), sinus infections (chronic sinusitis), lung disease or gastrointestinal disturbance. Bad breath resulting from chronic sinusitis may be a recurring problem, especially if it is caused by a structural abnormality of the sinuses.
How to get rid of bad breath: treat the illness that causes bad breath
The permanent solution to bad breath caused by illness can be offered only by a doctor, who can identify and treat the cause of bad breath. In some cases, depending on the smell of the patient’s breath, the dentist or physician may suspect a likely cause for the problem. For example, “fruity” breath may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. A urine-like smell, especially in a person who is at high risk of kidney disease, can sometimes indicate kidney failure.
You will need diagnostic tests if the doctor suspects a lung infection, diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease. Depending on the suspected illness, these tests may include blood tests, urine tests, X-rays of the chest or sinuses, or other specialized testing.
Bad Breath Cause #7: Strong Smelling Foods
If your dental hygiene is great but you still have bad breath, you might want to consider your diet, as certain foods you might be eating can be the cause of your bad breath.
The most common foods that cause bad breath are:
- Garlic and onion. The smelly sulfur compounds in garlic and onions linger in your mouth and are absorbed in the bloodstream and expelled when you exhale.
- Alcohol. It creates a favorable environment for oral bacterial growth. It also has a drying effect, which reduces saliva flow and allows foul-smelling bacteria to linger longer.
- A diet heavy in meat and low in carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables. Dense protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy are used as a food source by the sulfur-producing bacteria which cause bad breath. So-called “low carb” diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.
- Sugars. Candies, mints, and chewing gum that contain sugar do not help to eliminate bad breath. In fact, the sugar in most breath mints actually causes the bad breath bacteria to become super active and create even more offensive, sulfur compounds. The strong, mint or fruit flavorings only mask your bad breath. They don’t do anything to combat the bacteria that are causing your bad breath.
- Acidic foods or beverages like coffee, tomato juice, sodas, pasta sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, butter and chocolate. They make bacteria reproduce much faster.
How to get rid of bad breath: avoid strong smelling foods or eat certain foods with them
Whenever possible avoid eating these foods that cause bad breath. When you do choose to eat them, bad breath can be prevented or at least partially covered by consuming fruit, fresh herbs or milk.
Bad Breath Cause #8: Smoking
People who smoke are far more likely to have bad breath (the so called smoker’s breath). Smoking leaves smoke particles in the mouth, throat and lungs, and their smell can linger in the lungs for hours. This is why if you are a smoker you can still have bad breath even after brushing your teeth.
Besides the temporary bad breath that lasts for a few hours after smoking, tobacco also causes chronic bad breath in two different ways:
- by drying out the palate, smoking leaves a dry, chemical-filmed environment where anaerobic oral bacteria thrive
- over time, smoking can leave teeth coated with a thick layer of tartar, increasing the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
How to get rid of bad breath: stop smoking
Chewing gum, certain foods, breath mints, brushing your teeth are only temporary solutions for smoker’s breath. They can mask bad breath for a very short time, but they cannot eliminate it. The only guaranteed way to get rid of smoker’s bad breath is to quit smoking altogether.
Bad Breath Cause #9: Dentures
Dentures are another cause of bad breath. Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
Here’s a simple test you can use to see if your dentures are the source of your bad breath.
- Take your dentures out and place them in a plastic bag, then close it.
- Let them sit for several minutes.
- Open the bag and take a sniff inside.
If things don’t smell good, your dentures are causing at least some part of your breath problems.
How to get rid of bad breath: clean your dentures thoroughly
If you wear removable dentures, remove after every meal for cleaning, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them. You will also need to more thoroughly clean those parts of your mouth where bacteria tend to accumulate. This includes both the tissues your dentures rest on and especially the posterior region of your tongue.
Bad Breath Cause #10: Medication
Bad breath may also be caused by medications you are taking, including central nervous system agents, anti-Parkinson drugs, antihistamines/decongestants, anti-psychotics, anti-cholinergics, narcotics, anti-hypertensives, and anti-depressants.
How to get rid of bad breath: ask your doctor
If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor. He may adjust the dose you’re taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause bad breath.
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath With Natural Remedies
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath With Oil Pulling
One natural remedy that certainly helps to get rid of bad breath is oil pulling. Oil pulling – an Ayurvedic Indian tradition that’s been around for thousands of years – is an old way to clean your mouth more thoroughly than you probably are now.
Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. In a study of 20 adolescents, oil pulling therapy significantly reduced all markers for bad breath and was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash.
To perform it, you simply swish an oil in your mouth, “pulling” it between your teeth for about 20 minutes. You can use a number of oils for this, but sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil are the most commonly used.
How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath With With Herbs And Certain Foods
Tea helps to get rid of bad breath since the polyphenols that it contains stop the growth of the bacteria that cause bad breath. Especially green tea is rich in flavonoids (mostly catechins) which have an antioxidant effect on the bacteria that cause dental plaque, while its fluorine content protects against cavities.
Parsley, basil, spearmint, celery, fennel, coriander or cilantro, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cardamom can help you get rid of bad breath due to their high chlorophyll content, which has antibacterial properties. If you chew them after strong smelling foods, these herbs can help your breath smell better.
Cinnamon and cloves
You can chew on them any time you need an instant breath freshener. Cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehyde, a kind of essential oil that not only just cover up bad breath, but it also actually reduces the amount of bacteria in your saliva. Cloves have powerful antiseptic properties that are very helpful in getting rid of bad breath.
Research done by the Ohio State University indicates that drinking milk can lower the concentration of odor-emitting compounds from garlic in the mouth. Whole milk seemed to be slightly more effective than skim (due to the absorbent fat) and had the most noticeable results when it was consumed during a meal (although drinking a glass afterward can help, too).
According to some recent studies, a small daily serving of yogurt (6 ounces) helps to reduce bad breath by 80%. The reason is that active cultures in yogurt, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, compete with the bacteria in your mouth that contribute to bad breath. Eating yougurt regularly can also reduce the accumulation of plaque and the evelopment of periodontal disease.
Fruits rich in vitamin C
Bacteria cannot thrive in environments high in vitamin C. Eating fruits rich in vitamin C (e.g citrus fruits, berries) can help you get rid of bad breath and prevent gingivitis.
The polyphenols found in apples break down the smelly sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath.
Pressed ginger combined with lemon juice mixed in equal parts with warm water is another natural remedy that can help you get rid of bad breath.
Keeping hydrated is essential to fighting halitosis. Most odor-causing bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in a dry mouth. Therefore, drinking water helps flush out food particles and bacteria stuck in your mouth. Drinking water also promotes the production of saliva, which acts as a cleansing agent.