The cause of a first date gone wrong, or friends and colleagues avoiding you for no obvious reason could very well be down to halitosis (aka bad breath). General oral hygiene (including your breath) is dependent on a holistic combination of personal, natural and professional dental and dietary habits. And unless you only live on social media, a gorgeous white smile is not going to cut it in the real world. Having fresh breath is a major player in rocking confidence in daily face-to-face interactions.
No one wants to be remembered for their bad breath! Maintaining fresh breath throughout the day always starts by doing what your dentist says and continues with implementing some natural and practical all-day-long hacks that will keep your breath fresh and your friends and colleagues close.
Here are our simple dental and holistic secrets to long-lasting minty freshness.
#1 Follow your dentist’s advice
We get that dentists probably don’t rank as your favourite medical professionals, but their advice is integral to your general oral hygiene and fresh breath. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, cleaning your tongue with a tongue cleaner and making 6-monthly checkup appointments are basic non-negotiables. These healthy dental habits are key to eliminating cavities and bacteria buildup that cause bad breath.
#2 Drink sufficient water
One of the simplest ways to combat bad breath is to stay hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day helps flush out bacteria and reduces the dryness in your mouth which is also the culprit in undoing fresh breath.
#3 Opt for sugarless gum or mints
You have permission to reach for that pack of gum! (If you have braces this does not apply). Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless mints can be an effective way to freshen your breath when you are on the go. These products stimulate saliva production which helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth.
#4 Watch Your Diet
Certain foods - like onions, garlic, and spicy dishes - can leave an unpleasant lingering smell in your mouth. While avoiding these foods altogether may not be feasible, you can minimise their impact by combining them with crunchy fresh fruits and vegetables, which will help neutralise bad breath. The fibrous texture of apples, raw celery, broccoli or carrots not only helps to clean your teeth but also increases the flow of saliva which washes away odour-causing debris. Vitamin C-packed fruits - melons, citrus, and berries - are additional great bad breath cures as they are powerful bacteria-fighting warriors.
#5 Include mouthwash in your daily routine
Rinsing your mouth with an alcohol-free, antiseptic mouthwash can be a valuable addition to your oral care routine. Mouthwash reaches areas that brushing and flossing may miss, killing bacteria and leaving your breath minty-fresh.
Here are 2 natural mouthwash alternatives:
- Gargle with salt water: Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, swish a swig of the mixture around your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. Repeat as needed.
- Rinse with lemon water: Lemon's natural acidity and antibacterial properties may also help prevent the spread of bacteria that cause bad breath. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with a cup of warm water and use as a mouthwash.
#6 Say ‘No’ to tobacco
Smoking and other tobacco products not only harm your overall health and discolour your teeth but also significantly contribute to bad breath. Quitting tobacco can lead to much improved oral hygiene and fresher breath.
#7 Try oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and toxins, enhancing fresh breath. Coconut oil and sesame oil are commonly used for this purpose. A recent US study showed that children who swished sesame oil once daily for two weeks saw a significant decrease in microorganisms known to cause halitosis.
#8 Freshen your breath with fresh herbs & spices
Nature has always provided us with holistic health solutions. Chewing on fresh herbs - like parsley, mint, tarragon, rosemary or coriander - is a natural home remedy that can naturally produce fresh breath. These herbs contain natural deodorising properties that effectively combat smelly breath.
One of the oldest home remedies for bad breath is chewing on a cinnamon stick as it contains an essential oil (cinnamic aldehyde) that is known to destroy bacteria and leave a pleasant scent in your mouth.
#9 Clean your dentures or retainers regularly
If you wear dentures or retainers, ensure they are cleaned thoroughly and regularly. These dental appliances can harbour bacteria and unpleasant smells if not properly maintained.
#10 Consider a daily dose of probiotics
Gut health has had a lot of recent press. Probiotic supplements are a persuasive remedy in helping restore a healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth and gut, which may positively influence your breath's freshness.
Or consider adding probiotic fermented foods - such as kimchi, yoghurt and kefir - to help increase the good bacteria in your gut. Eliminating the bad bacteria that travel up your digestive tract producing an unpleasant smell in your mouth.
Between your dentist, nature and proactive daily oral hygiene habits, fresh breath is a sure thing. But should you be struggling with persistent bad breath, please see your dentist in case there is a more serious underlying cause.