Bad breath, or halitosis, is an embarrassing thing to have. Luckily, you aren’t stuck with it. There are many reasons why your mouth may produce a foul stench and just about as many ways you can fix it. However, not everything works for everybody. If you suffer from bad breath, there is no need to be alarmed—about 25% of people globally suffer from bad breath. Here are some tips for how to get rid of bad breath and why it happens.
The Causes of Bad Breath
Poor tongue hygiene
The most common way people get bad breath is by not taking as much care of their tongue as they should. Generally speaking, a tongue should be light and pink. If your tongue looks white and flaky, it means it’s riddled with bacteria. When your mouth has an excess of bacteria, the bacteria in your mouth begin breaking down the cells on your tongue, giving it a sort of “dead” smell.
Partially related to the previous entry, having a dry mouth can cause bad breath. This may also involve the tongue as a normal mouth produces enough saliva that bacteria isn’t a problem, but with dry mouth, that bacteria has nowhere to go. Hence why it begins to break down cells.
This is the obvious one, because whenever you have bad breath, people automatically wonder what it is that you ate. Your diet can reflect good habits or bad, but sometimes it really just boils down to the food you eat, healthy or not.
The most common culprits of bad breath foods are onions, garlic, horseradish, and coffee. It’s also worth mentioning that “crash diets” are a huge factor for similar reasons as dry mouth: it can break down fats and cells in your mouth.
This one may surprise people, but your mouth is somewhat a window into your overall health. Diseases like cancer, liver failure, and other ailments can cause bad breath due to a variety of chemicals they release.
Drugs and tobacco
Medications can not only do a lot to affect your overall health, but they can do a number on your oral health. Some drugs for chemotherapy, seizures, or angina can cause the user to experience bad breath.
Cigarettes and tobacco products can be detrimental to your oral health. For starters, bad breath is one of the very first signs. Even after your first cigarette or lip full of chew can have immediate effects on your breath.
Some Vitamins have also been known to cause bad breath.
5 Bad Breath Remedies
If you aren’t sure whether or not your breath stinks, there are ways to check (breathing in your cupped hands doesn’t work, sorry). For example, you can take a spoon and scrape it across your tongue. Wait for it to dry, and then take a big whiff of it.
Even better are tongue scrapers, which are great for both checking for bad breath and for cleaning. If you want to learn how to get rid of bad breath, consider the following.
1. Tongue scrapers and toothbrushes
The absolute best bad breath remedies involve your hygiene. Many people have varying opinions on the effectiveness of using a tongue scraper, but it’s one of the best cures for halitosis when it’s paired with a proper brushing technique and rinsing with mouthwash.
2. Drink a lot of water
Water is the miracle cure for everything, it seems. As we said before, having a dry mouth is a big reason people get bad breath. So, obviously, one of the best ways to combat this is to drink lots of water.
Not only that, but water also flushes the body of toxins and bacteria, so if you’re sick and that’s the reason your breath stinks, this will more than likely help.
3. Eat healthy
Since certain foods cause bad breath, naturally that means eating well should alleviate halitosis. If you want to eat foods like onions or garlic, it’s important to take extra care immediately after to eliminate the food odor. It’s also advisable to limit the amount of high-fructose and sugary foods, as well as acidic and vinegary foods.
It’s beneficial to eat foods that either encourage saliva production or contain fibrous material that helps to keep the inside of your mouth clean. For example, these foods will certainly help:
- Fruit (especially apples)
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
Maintaining a healthy diet also benefits your overall health, which can tie into how good or bad your breath is.
4. Effective mouthwash
You know by now that you should rinse your mouth out with mouthwash every night. However, if you suffer from pretty regular bad breath, it’s advisable that you rinse after every meal. You should never replace mouthwash with your standard oral care, but rather it should work with it.
5. Home remedies
Using herbs for at home remedies is rarely a bad idea. Fennel is an herb that’s been used for centuries to get rid of bad breath. Chew on its seeds after every meal and its antiseptic properties effectively cleanse the mouth.
Vitamins can also benefit the smell of your breath—consider taking probiotics.
The Oral Health Professionals
Bad breath is a common sign of poor oral hygiene. Out of all the cures for halitosis, a professional cleaning from your dentist will ensure the highest quality of oral care. So if you have bad breath, schedule an appointment with your dentist.