The movies lie. Ladies don’t wake up looking fresh as a daisy with perfect makeup and hair. Men don’t wake up clean-shaven with coiffed hair. And, unless you’re a newborn baby, your morning breath is not kissable.
Morning breath is real. Everyone’s breath smells terrible in the morning, and everyone suffers from a little halitosis on occasion.
But if your bad breath is persistent and doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you brush, it’s time to call in the big guns!
What Causes Persistent Bad Breath?
Numerous things can cause chronic halitosis, the most common of which include:
Dry Mouth: If you sleep with your mouth open, drink alcohol regularly, or take medication that decreases saliva production, you’ll be more prone to bad breath.
Reflux: Acid reflux can also cause bad breath and may be triggered by dietary changes, alcohol consumption, or GERD.
Food: The food you eat could be causing your halitosis. Acidic drinks, garlic, dairy, and high-protein foods are all major culprits.
Tobacco: Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause bad breath by decreasing saliva production.
The easiest way to tell if you have bad breath is to ask someone for their honest opinion. If you’d rather not subject anyone to that test, simply lick the back of your hand, wait for it to dry, and then smell it.
You just licked your hand, didn’t you?
Now that we’ve covered some of the main causes of bad breath, it’s time to neutralize that stanky mouth and breathe a little happy.
- Brush and Floss After Eating
Plaque and tartar are the main causes of decay and bad breath and the only way to prevent them is to brush and floss regularly. You should follow this routine at least twice a day, but preferably after every meal.
Electric toothbrushes tend to work best for brushing. If you’re sticking with devices, you can also use a WaterpikⓇ for a quick floss. While a WaterPik is great for clearing trapped food, they’re not as effective for digging into the plaque and removing it.
Plaque can be completely removed by consistently brushing and flossing.If plaque is not removed, it can harden and form tartar, which may require professional cleaning to remove.
If your teeth are yellow no matter how much you brush, then you may have a build-up of tartar or something known as intrinsic staining. Intrinsic staining occurs on the inner surface of the tooth. This deep stain can only be removed by professional teeth whitening, such as our very own At-Home Teeth Whitening System.
- Scrape Your Tongue
What color is your tongue? Is it coated in a white/yellow film?
Okay. Go check. You know you want to. I’ll wait.
If you have a lovely film, it might be the cause of your bad breath. The particles responsible for halitosis can accumulate on your tongue, serving as the perfect breeding ground for smelly bacteria.
This won’t be eradicated with simple rinsing, you need to brush it just like you brush your teeth; whenever it accumulates, brush it away.
Look at the back of your toothbrush. Most toothbrushes come with a tongue scraper on the opposite side of the bristles, often in the form of a ribbed silicone. You can also use floss picks for this purpose. In a pinch, your toothbrush will work as well, but be careful not to apply too much pressure.
- Cut Back on Your Vices
Is your diet rich in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes? If so, you’re fighting a losing battle (and please carry breath mints at all times.) All these things can cause halitosis—especially if you’re consuming large quantities of alcohol, adding copious amounts of sugar to your coffee, and smoking all day.
Your saliva production will decrease, your mouth will dry out, and all those funky coffee, cigarette, and alcohol smells will accumulate and turn into a festering, rotten stench. It’s no wonder your breath smells!
The only way to prevent this is to cut down on these foul-smelling substances. The less you drink and smoke, the better. As for coffee, you don’t need to give it up entirely, but try to cut down and brush your teeth after drinking.
- Properly Rinsing
Mouthwash can often do more harm than good. It contains alcohol, which dries out your mouth, and many people rinse after brushing, thus washing away all that enamel-building fluoride, or before bed, which dries out their mouths throughout the night. Use a non-alcohol mouthwash, or better yet, just rinse with water.
A few years ago, researchers looked into the apparent benefits of oil pulling and found that it reduced oral bacteria quite significantly. This was great news for proponents of this practice. However, when they compared the effects to water rinsing, they found that it produced the same results.
This is even better news. It means that a vigorous rinse with water can greatly reduce the bacteria in your mouth, thus helping to keep bacteria and smells to a minimum.
Avoid rinsing within 30 minutes after you brush, but give it a go whenever you feel like you need to freshen-up, or whenever you eat/drink and don’t have the time to brush.
- Watch Your Diet
Any dog and cat owner will tell you that sometimes the best way to clean your pet’s teeth is to give them tough foods that grind plaque and tartar, effectively cleaning while they eat and preventing the inevitable chaos that comes from trying to brush their teeth.
The same principle applies to humans: Some foods can reduce plaque and tartar buildup. These include any foods that are hard, fibrous, and natural—which means apples and celery are ideal, but you should pass on the peanut brittle.
Fibrous fruits and vegetables act like naturally absorbent toothbrushes while helping to maintain a neutral pH balance in your mouth.
Summary: Breathing Easily
Bad breath can damage your self-confidence, impacting your social life and even your mental health. The problem with bad breath is that the sufferer is often the last person to know and the first one to suffer.
If you’re concerned that your breath might smell, or you’ve been told that it does, then follow the tips outlined above and you’ll notice an improvement. If none of these tips work and you know for certain that your breath still smells, then discuss it with your dentist as there may be something else at play.
And remember, good friends tell their friends when their breath could wilt flowers!