When family members and friends let you know that your breath smells bad, you might retrace your steps, thinking about everyone you've spoken to and what you ate that day. Although fighting bad breath might seem like a sign you should brush and floss more carefully, other factors come into play. Here are three easy ways to improve your breath.
1. Visit Your Dentist
Bad breath has several causes, but one of the most prevalent is the colonization of oral bacteria. In addition to putting your teeth at risk, these bacteria also emit volatile organic compounds, which smell bad. As you talk and breathe, these compounds can take hold on the microscopic water droplets in your breath, making it smell.
In addition to feeding off of the sugars in the foods that you eat, oral bacteria can also feed on plaque, which hardens into tartar within about 48 hours. Unfortunately, after plaque hardens, it can't be removed through normal brushing or flossing, and it creates a porous, nutrient-filled base for bacteria - perpetuating bad breath.
One of the best ways to prevent bad breath is by having routine dental cleanings, where dentists and hygienists physically remove these deposits. After they use special tools to scrape away tartar, your teeth will look clean and beautiful, and your breath will naturally freshen.
2. Stay Properly Hydrated
The saliva in your mouth helps to rinse away food particles while neutralizing bacterial acids. Unfortunately, if you have low salivary levels because you are dehydrated, your breath can suffer.
To keep your breath fresh, focus on staying properly hydrated. As a general rule of thumb, men need about 15.5 cups of water a day, and women should consume at least 11.5 cups of water daily. While this might seem like a lot of water, you have to remember that water also fuels your body's natural cooling system and plays a key role in immunity.
If you struggle with bad breath, focus on boosting your water consumption. Invest in a water bottle and track your consumption throughout the day. While it might be tempting to add sweeteners or flavorings to your water, many of these additives have sugars that fuel oral bacteria, making breath worse.
3. Eat the Right Foods
Enjoying a healthy diet is essential for good breath, since foods rich in starches and sugars can allow oral bacteria to flourish. Some foods also contain compounds that smell a lot like the VOCs emitted by oral bacteria, so staying away from those items is crucial if you care about your scent.
For instance, vegetables like onions and garlic contain sulfuric compounds that smell like bad breath. In addition to scenting your breath immediately following a meal, these byproducts are absorbed into your bloodstream through your stomach and then expelled through your lungs when you breathe a few hours later, giving your bad breath a second life.
Fortunately, by focusing on eating the right things, you can prevent bad breath. In addition to steering clear of garlic and onions, stay away from pungent spices like curry and horseradish.
Instead, opt for food known to improve breath, such as mint, apples, parsley, almonds, and cucumbers. Yogurt and green tea have also been shown to improve breath since yogurt crowds out oral bacteria and green tea hydrates your mouth.
Improving your breath begins with a dental exam, so stop by and see us here at Grant/Moana Dental Offices. In addition to offering preventative dental care, our team can also help with dental implants, pediatric dentistry, dentures, and bridges. Stop by and see us today to enjoy a brighter, healthier smile.