Fresh Breath Tips

When you notice people avoiding you when they step into the elevator, it's time to check out your breath. Foul mouth odor will make people keep their distance from you. Many situations that cause bad breath are avoidable. Here are some tips to keep you from being the only person in the elevator.

1. Watch what you eat.

Some foods will contribute to bad breath for hours after you eat them. Pungent foods, such as onions and garlic, continue to be in your stomach for hours, sending odors up your esophagus where they affect your breath. Brushing and rinsing your mouth only reduces the odor slightly. To be safe, don't eat pungent foods for several hours before you have to spend a lot of time in close contact with people.

2. Use the most effective mouthwash for you.

People respond differently to mouthwashes, so you may have to try several to find the best one for you. Always use a mouthwash labeled as anti-microbial to kill as many of the bad-breath-producing bacteria in your mouth as possible. For really stubborn bad breath, your family dentistry clinic can give you a prescription strength mouthwash.

3. Clean your tongue when you brush and floss.

Your tongue traps bacteria in the tiny bumps and folds on the surface. Brushing your teeth and flossing leaves these bacteria untouched, and they will continue to sour your breath. A quick scrubbing with your toothbrush when doing your normal dental hygiene will clean much of the bacteria off of your tongue. If this is uncomfortable because of your gag reflex, your dentist can show you how to properly use a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria.

4. Control your heartburn.

Acid churning in your stomach can make its way back up into your esophagus and throat, causing bad breath. Taking antacids after you eat helps somewhat. Taking medication proactively that reduces the amount of acid your stomach creates is more effective. Your doctor can recommend the right medication for the level of stomach distress you experience after eating.

5. Keep a moist mouth.

A dry mouth develops a foul breath. Bacteria in a dry mouth are exposed to the air so they contribute more to your mouth odor. Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day and take sips of water to keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum will also keep your mouth moist, but ask your dentist about sugar-free versions so you don't create other dental problems.

For more tips, contact an experienced dentist like Chris T. Thomas, DDS