Stinky breath is something that we all experience at some point. However, one can’t deny that it’s embarrassing and not appreciated at the workplace, and definitely not accepted on our romantic dates. So should you become a social recluse? Absolutely not! Smelly breath is treatable and to get the best results, you need to first understand what bad breath is and what causes it.
What is bad breath?
Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, is characterised by an unpleasant odour in the breath you exhale. It commonly occurs in the morning when you wake up (also called morning breath), but it can happen at any time of the day. If you frequently experience bad breath throughout the day and it is persistent, then you need to review your oral hygiene habits.
What causes bad breath?
Stinky breath usually occurs when we neglect our oral care routine. However, bad breath can also be a sign of underlying oral issues and gum disease. Here are some common causes of bad breath apart from poor dental hygiene - consuming tobacco products, dry mouth, taking certain medications, oral infections, or in the worst case, oral cancer. Additionally, there are certain foods that cause bad breath. Let us discuss them in depth -
What foods should we avoid to prevent bad breath?
Here is a list of foods that cause bad breath -
Onions: The odour of onions can linger long after you have finished eating them, making onion breath one of the most common and immediate forms of halitosis. Onions contain sulphuric compounds that get absorbed into the bloodstream and exhaled from the mouth. So, when you have a meal that contains onions, or eat raw onions as an accompaniment, make sure that you brush your teeth and rinse your mouth immediately.
Garlic: Another condiment that can cause unpleasant odour in your mouth is garlic. Since garlic cloves are used heavily in most Indian cuisines, it’s difficult to avoid them but you can reduce the intake. Try to avoid consuming garlic late at night. Garlic leaves traces of sulphuric compounds in the mouth that get absorbed into the bloodstream and leave behind an odour that goes all the way up to the lungs and gets exhaled as bad breath. So once you have eaten garlic, make sure that you brush, rinse, and floss to get rid of the odour.
Dairy: This may surprise you but milk and other dairy products that are rich sources of calcium can also leave you with a stinky breath. This is because the germs present in your tongue feed on the amino acids present in milk and cheese, which can trigger halitosis or bad breath.
Coffee and alcohol: Your favourite beverages are often responsible for your bad breath. Coffee and alcohol can have a drying effect in the mouth, which leads to reduced production of saliva. And a dry mouth leads to bad breath. Plus, coffee and certain alcohols such as wine can also stain the teeth and lead to discolouration.
Horseradish: You should consider avoiding eating this root vegetable if you want to prevent halitosis. It contains a chemical compound called isothiocyanate, which adds flavour to the sauces and dressings but at the same time, makes your breath smell bad. This smell can linger for a while after it has been digested.
What other precautions can I take?
Along with remedies for bad breath like avoiding certain foods and drinks, it is important to take other precautions as well like maintaining a good oral hygiene care routine. Here are a few tips for the same:
Brush twice daily: It sounds like a no-brainer, but people often forget this. They may brush once in the morning because that is when the bad breath is most apparent but forget brushing at night. Brushing at night prevents you from taking the onslaught of the bacteria in your mouth and plaque, to the bed with you. So, brushing twice a day is super important if you want to keep bad breath away for good
Use a mouthwash: Rinsing your mouth with a dental-recommended mouthwash can kill the germs and bacteria in your mouth to reduce bad breath and other oral issues. Moreover, if it is flavoured then it will leave a pleasant aftertaste and smell in your mouth.
Floss well after: Once you are done brushing, it is a good idea to floss. Flossing prevents plaque buildup and removes any hidden, tiny food particles that can potentially cause your mouth to stink. Use floss strips that can slide easily between the teeth to clean it effectively.
Pop a chewing gum: If you are wondering what to eat for fresh breath- the answer is chewing gum. It is the simplest way to deal with bad breath, especially when you’re outdoors or travelling. Even if you eat certain halitosis-inducing foods when you are out and about, don’t panic, just pop a chewing gum in your mouth. But make sure it is dental-approved and sugar-less. Sugar-loaded chewing gums can do more harm than good and cause tooth decay, which can actually make halitosis worse in the long run. If you are still thinking what to eat for fresh breath, there is another alternative- you can chew fennel seeds for bad breath after each meal as they neutralise mouth odour.
Foods that fight bad breath: You can take further preventative measures by consuming foods that fight bad breath. These foods include probiotic yogurt, raw fruits and veggies, green tea, cherries, melons and citrus, ginger, water, and more. Not only are these foods that fight bad breath, they are also good for overall health.
So, these are some tips to prevent bad breath. Avoid eating certain foods and maintain a solid oral care hygiene routine. Visit the dentist if the bad breath persists. It is also important to use advanced dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrushes that help clean the teeth effectively and nip stinky breath in the bud.
Need more tips? Fight bad breath with these bad breath home remedies.