Bad breath, which is formally called "halitosis," affects many people. In fact, it is estimated that up to half of the adults in the United States have it. Yet, there are ways to combat the condition. Here are a few things you can do to keep bad breath at bay:
Don't Skimp on Brushing Your Teeth
When you brush your teeth, make sure that you brush long enough to clean your teeth thoroughly. It may be easy to brush for a minute and head out the door. However, dentists suggest that you brush your teeth for at least twice that long. You can use a timer if you feel that your brushing time is inadequate. However, no matter how long you brush, your technique must be effective to remove the germs and residual food particles that cause bad breath. You should be sure to brush with short strokes that cover all the surfaces of the teeth that your tooth brush can reach. You should pay special attention to the area along the gum line where your teeth and gums meet and bacteria can hide.
Don't Forget the In-betweens
Brushing your teeth may seem sufficient to kill bad breath, but a toothbrush does not effectively reach the areas between your teeth. Traditional string floss can help remove plaque and food that is lodged between adjacent teeth. However, some people prefer to use a water flosser. Whichever method you use, be sure to floss at least once daily. Plaque hardens to tartar over time, so when you skip flossing, you are encouraging the formation of tartar between your teeth. The rough surface of tartar makes a great hiding place for bacteria and food that can eventually spoil the smell of your breath.
Don't Neglect Your Tongue
Your tongue can develop a coating of plaque. To remove it, you can simply brush your tongue when you brush your teeth. However, you may prefer to use a tongue scraper to scrape any residue from the crevices of your tongue.You can purchase your tongue scraper from a local drug store, or your dentist may provide one.
Kill the Germs
Even after you brush, floss and scrape, there may be residual germs in your mouth. Anaerobic bacteria release sulfur that can cause bad breath, so it's important to remove as many germs as possible. Over-the-counter mouth wash that contains germ-killing ingredients can be used to kill more of the bacteria. You may even opt for an unconventional mouth wash, such as unsweetened black tea. Researchers from the University of Chicago suggest that tea can reduce bad breath odors by 33 percent.
Everyone has bad breath from time to time. However, if you suffer from persistent bad breath, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a dentist like David Jackson, DDS. A dentist will be able to check the health of your mouth and determine if your halitosis is caused by an underlying condition.