About 90 million people have chronic bad breath. (And there are probably a few million more who get it occasionally, but don’t know because nobody wants to tell them.) Unfortunately this is not something a swig of mouthwash can fix. Here are some tips that can help you or someone you smooch with conquer bad breath forever.
1. Clean your tongue
We brush our teeth, but don’t forget the tongue! Food particles and bacteria that are left there will start to decay, trapped in the microfilaments there. Give your tongue a good scrub with a toothbrush, or get a tongue cleaner. In a pinch, the back of a spoon will help too.
2. Invest in a water pick
This can help flush out food particles that are trapped beyond the reach of your dental floss or toothbrush.
3. Get the saliva going
Saliva helps wash away any remaining particles, and it contains an antiseptic that can kill odor-causing bacteria too. That’s why your breath is particularly foul in the morning, because your body produces less saliva when you sleep.
You can increase saliva production by chewing gum. This is far more effective than taking a breath mint, which will only temporarily mask the smell of your breath. The best gums contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can even stop bacteria from multiplying.
4. Load up on water
Water also washes away bacteria and food particles, aside from a host of other health benefits. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty (thirstiness is already a sign of dehydration).
5. See a health expert
The odor can be a symptom of a health problem, like gum disease or cavities. If your dentist gives you a clean bill of health, consider seeing a general physician to rule out health problems like infection or kidney conditions.
6. Add carbs to your diet
Low carb diets can cause bad breath. If you’re trying to lose weight, consider having a small slice of wholewheat bread or a serving of wholewheat pasta. This can help control what many people call ‘ketone breath.’
Photo from specialty-hospital.com
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