Maintaining fresh breath can be a constant battle. One minute you’ve brushed your teeth and all is well, and the next you catch a whiff of your own oral odor from inside a mask or as you’re speaking to a friend. While regular brushing and flossing can give you a leg up on keeping your mouth smelling clean, sometimes you need to cut down on funky smells while out and about. To do that, try one of these five tips.
1. Check Yourself
Unsure if it’s your own breath or something near your mouth causing a stir? Oral piercings, sinus drainage, facial coverings that didn’t make it through a proper laundry cycle or even ambient odors in the air can all confuse your nostrils. Since we become nose blind to the smells we’re around most, it’s almost impossible to smell your own breath to check. And asking someone else to take a whiff is embarrassing at best and unsafe at worst.
Fortunately, you can check your own breath to make sure what you’re smelling is actually coming from your mouth. After thoroughly washing and drying your hands, lick the back of your wrist and allow it to dry for a second or two. Take a sniff. Smell funky? You should probably freshen up. If it isn’t malodorous, the cause may be coming from elsewhere. Remember to wash your hands again after checking!
2. Chew Gum
Gum gets a bad reputation. Notorious for pulling out fillings, gunking up braces and being discarded on sidewalks everywhere, chewing gum can actually give your breath a much-needed boost. To freshen up your mouth on the go, pop a piece of chewing gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Xylitol gum works to help cut noxious breath in a couple ways. The chewing action helps produce more saliva, which can reduce odors caused by dry mouth. Even if you don’t suffer from dry mouth, a little extra spit can help neutralize acids, carry away leftover food particles and rinse off bacteria that cause odors.
Because xylitol is an artificial sweetener, the bacteria that cause bad breath try to use it as a food source, as they would real sugar. But because artificial sweeteners aren’t real sugar, the bacteria essentially starve to death and die off. It’s a win-win.
3. Herbal Help
Sometimes you just need to mask the scent of your breath — especially if you’ve eaten garlic, onions or other spices that can make a comeback even if you’ve just brushed your teeth. While masking odors isn’t always the way to go, if you’ve got the smell of lunch still on your breath and don’t want those around you to smell it, it’s possible to get a little boost from herbal remedies.
Parsley, lemon and mint, three plants used as garnishes, can lend themselves to fresher-smelling breath on the go. Simply chew the leaves to lend a less-offensive smell to your breath after a meal — double-check that none of the greenery sticks to your teeth to avoid more embarrassment.
4. Plan Your Snacks
A midday snack can help you get through the day, but it can also help freshen up your mouth for the afternoon. Pack a snack that’ll nourish your body and boost your self-confidence by helping keep your mouth clean.
Rather than a sticky sweet granola bar, opt for harder, chewy vegetables or fruits for snacking. Fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery, or rougher fruits like apples or crisp pears, can scrape away bacteria and help clean your teeth as you munch, enabling your fresh breath to last until your next brushing.
5. Ask Your Dentist for Help
It seems like a no-brainer, but you can turn to your dentist for ideas to keep your breath fresher during the day. Sometimes bad breath has a cause that isn’t just a heavily spiced meal. Cavities, gum disease and infection are just some of the root causes of halitosis. Stomach ulcers, acid reflux or more serious overall health problems can also leave you feeling not so fresh. If your bad breath is a constant, persistent embarrassment or develops suddenly, check in with your dentist to see if you can figure out what’s going on behind the scenes.
Let Us Take a Look
The office of Drs. Krieger and Hur can help you combat bad breath. We can help spot the start of major problems and recommend a course of treatment unique to your individual situation. To book your appointment, give our office a call at (201) 560-0606. You can also secure your spot via email by clicking here.
No matter what the cause of less-than-fresh breath, everyone can benefit from a routine cleaning to freshen things up. Routine cleanings remove biofilm and plaque and reduce bacteria that can lead to odors and other issues. You should have an exam and cleaning at least twice a year, during which time we can discuss any other concerns you may have.