7 ways to avoid bad breath
SUMMARY: Learn how to defeat bad breath once and for all.
Posted: September 6, 2013
If you're suiting up for a date or grabbing drinks with coworkers, there's no need to fret about having bad breath anymore. There are plenty of solutions, for all different types of situations. It is important to understand that just brushing and flossing regularly are not a sure-sell way to get long lasting fresh breath. Doctors recommend having a well-balanced diet with the daily suggested proportions of carbs, protein, fruits and vegetables, as well as lots of liquids. However, even if you're staying healthy, bad breath can still creep up. Here are seven tips to keep your breath fresh as possible:
Adam Sandler in the 1998 movie, "The Waterboy" was right: water is better than sports drinks. Water helps wash down foods that may have stuck in the wedges or crevices of your teeth. Those leftover particles spur bacteria growth and are on the top of the list for bad breath causes. H2O also promotes saliva production, which serves as a cleansing agent.
2. Embrace the active culture
According to a study from Japanese researchers, eating sugar-free yogurt that contains probiotic or active culture lowers the odor-producing sulfide compounds in the mouth to create better-smelling breath. In particular, throw yogurts in your shopping cart that are rich in streptococci and lactobacilli bacteria. Remember, these are the beneficial kinds of bacteria. Additionally, vitamin D found in fortified yogurt reduces the bad kinds of mouth bacteria.
3. Fiber-rich friends
Foods high in fiber - prunes, almonds among other nuts, cooked pinto and black beans, rye bread - are foods worth getting to know. "The fiber-rich content of fruits, vegetables, and nuts also acts like 'tiny toothbrushes' on teeth and has been shown to keep odor-causing bacteria from staining teeth," explained Gerald P. Curatola, DDS, clinical associate professor at the New York University College Dentistry, according to Everyday Health.
4. In your back pocket
Many people keep a pack of gum on them for flavor, and with good reason. Gum can help mask bad breath. Look for strong minty flavors without sugar, particularly the ones sweetened with xylitol, because xylitol combats bad breath. Sugars create plaque, which worsens the smell of your breath. For optimal effectiveness, chew after each meal for at least five minutes. Gum is also good for fighting dry mouth, as it stimulates saliva. Mints are fine too, although they only work for a short time. Again, opt for the sugar-free pack.
5. C the difference
Eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C - such as bell peppers (which can actually contain more than twice as much vitamin C as oranges), broccoli, kiwi, oranges and strawberries - halt bacteria growth in its tracks. If you do the old cup-the-hand-over-the-mouth trick and blow, you will notice surprisingly fresh breath. Be sure to eat the vitamin C foods, and avoid supplements if you can because, as supplements may cause gastrointestinal upset and can actually be a catalyst for bad breath.
6. Crunchy foods
Little known fact: Not only are fruits and vegetables great for getting your daily allotment of vitamin C and fiber, but certain crunchy foods, when eaten raw, can dislodge leftover food particles in the mouth. Carrots, bell peppers, apples and celery all make the cut.
7. Herbs galore
A simple on-the-go solution for controlling bad breath is chewing on herbs. You may know that parsley is considered effective, but what are some others? Peppermint, sage, coriander, tarragon, spearmint, rosemary and eucalyptus all relieve odors in the mouth. Essential oils in these herbs help rinse out bacteria. You can also make tea with these ingredients as well, for an after-meal drink that is great at getting rid of bad breath and reducing dry mouth at night.