My entire book on dealing with bad breath is available here, for only $5:
If you are worried about bad breath, ask an adult member of your family. Everyone has bad breath on occasion. If you have bad breath often, a family member should tell you if you ask.
If your family member tells you that you don’t have a problem, then probably you don’t. Stop worrying about it so much.
If your family member tells you that you do have bad breath, then ask them to check whether it’s coming from your nose or your mouth.
If it’s coming from your nose, ask to see an ear-nose-throat specialist.
If it’s coming from your mouth, try the following tips.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Most cases of bad breath come from the tongue. The tongue is full of crevices and the crevices are full of bacteria.
One of the best ways to clean your tongue is to eat something that rubs the bacteria and debris off the surface. Salad, nuts, and grainy bread are good for this purpose (and healthy too).
People who leave the house without eating probably have worse breath during the day than those who have a good healthy breakfast.
Use an antibacterial mouthwash right before bedtime.
At night, there is practically no flow of saliva. The mouth dries out and bacteria proliferate, break down protein, and smell. You wake up in the morning with “dragon mouth”.
A good antibacterial mouthwash (your dentist can recommend one), used right before bed, will inhibit bacterial growth and activity while you sleep.
I have invented a great mouthwash with two phases that need to be shaken before use. It has different names and is available in many countries. It is alcohol free (better, I think) and you can see the debris in the bacteria and the sink when you spit it out.
Don’t only rinse the mouthwash between your teeth. That’s important. It’s more important, however, to gargle with mouthwash as far back as you can (without swallowing it). That’s because the worst odor is at the very back of the tongue towards the throat.
The mouthwash is called Dentyl Active in the UK, Colgate Total Advanced Dental Care mouthwash in the US, and is available in South America (Colgate) and in Israel (Orbitol).
Quick fix: Chlorhexidine
There are mouthwashes in some countries that contain 0.2% chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is a very strong antibacterial agent, and for various reasons, it is not usually recommended for long time use.
However, it is extremely effective in treating oral malodor if used for a week. You can ask your family member whether the odor is eradicated (or improved), and this will give you an additional indication that the odor is coming from your oral cavity. Get permission from your dentist or physician before using it. If you get burning or other symptoms, discontinue use.
Avoid dry mouth
Bad breath is worse when the mouth dries out. There are many reasons for having a dry mouth. One is just going without eating for a few hours.
If your mouth feels dry, make sure you are drinking enough water during the course of the day.
Pop a piece of sugar-free chewing gum in your mouth and chew it for three or four minutes. (There are special chewing gums that have antibacterial agents as an added benefit). This will get the saliva flowing and cleanse your oral cavity.
Foods containing protein may cause bad breath, because proteins are broken down by bacteria in the mouth to produce foul smelling gases.
These include meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Alcohol may also cause bad breath. Alcohol can dry out the mouth, and bacteria and yeast can convert it to acetaldehyde and other smelly gases.
Garlic, onion and other spices can hang around the mouth for a long time and cause foul odor.
Coffee may dry the mouth and contribute to oral malodor.
At least one study found a correlation between obesity and bad breath.
In at least one study people who flossed had less bad breath than those who did not.
Learn to floss properly by asking your hygienist to demonstrate.
Floss around the back teeth at the end of each row.
Flossing not only gets rid of protein-containing food stuck between your teeth. It also gets rid of bacteria that toothbrushes can’t reach.
Some dentists suggest interdental brushes. These are good too, especially if you dip them in toothpaste or mouthwash.
Take care of your teeth
One dental abscess or rotten tooth can cause the whole mouth to smell. Be sure to take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth properly (new brush, good quality toothpaste) at least twice a day.
You can gargle with the remainder of the toothpaste in your mouth after brushing.
Toothpaste usually contains chemicals that might interact with active agents in mouthrinses, so don’t use both toothpaste and mouthwash at the same time.
See your dentist regularly.
If you have dentures, take them out at night and soak them in antibacterial solution, unless your dentist advises you otherwise. Brush all the parts of your dentures well.
Tongue cleaning is very helpful but only if you clean your tongue gently, and practice cleaning all the way back towards your throat. Try to get rid of the outer layers of debris and mucus, avoid hurting your tongue or brushing it harshly. Plastic tongue cleaners are usually gentler than metal ones. Make sure that your tongue cleaner cannot break in your mouth.
Try out these tips for a week or two, and ask your family member whether the situation has improved. If it has, then keep up the good work. Daily effort is required to keep your mouth clean and your breath sweet (just as you need to shower daily to prevent body odor).
If your bad breath persists, then see your dentist or physician. Bad breath can result from many medical conditions, but fortunately these are rare, and most are treatable.
Thank you for reading my book!
If you like it, you might also want to read:
“How to use a tongue cleaner”
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