How to Get Rid of Pesky Bad Breath, According to Dentists

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How to get rid of bad breathWhether it’s a date with a Bumble match or a working lunch with your team, no one wants to have bad breath — ever. But how do you get rid of bad breath? We know we’re supposed to brush and floss, but if that’s not enough, what bad breath remedy should you rely on?

Ultimately, the cure for bad breath is seldom any one thing; it’s a total picture of what’s going on with your oral health. “It is not a question of what to eat, but rather what not to eat, having good oral hygiene, and controlling your digestive process as needed. If you already have bad breath, eating something minty may be just a cover-up at best, but not addressing the underlying causes,” Dr. Jon Marashi, DDS, tells POPSUGAR. If you find that your mouth is often funky, it may be a sign of a more serious problem (like a gum infection or acid reflux) and require a visit to the doctor. Ahead, eight tips to fix the root of your bad breath once and for all. Plus, when to see a doctor for bad breath treatment.

We’ve all been caught with bad breath before — it happens. But that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable. Fortunately, we spoke to experts about some of the best bad breath remedies. Your bad breath cure could be as simple as switching your mouthwash or changing your diet. Other times, it may require a trip to the doctor. Consider the below when it comes to finding a cure for your bad breath.

Don’t Use Alcohol-Based Mouthwash

“I think the first thing people think about when they have bad breath is running to the Listerine bottle!” says SmileCycle cofounder and dentist Suhail Mohiuddin. But what most people don’t realize is that alcohol-based mouthwashes just temporarily mask bad breath and can actually make it worse. Alcohol naturally dries out your mouth, which in turn leads to more odor. Instead, try an alcohol-free mouthwash for a few weeks and see if that helps.

Eat More of These Foods

If you need a quick fix, reach for odor-masking foods. Parsley, for example, is probably the most common food used to mask bad breath. The saving grace in parsley, like in cinnamon and spearmint, is its oils. “These oils are powerful enough to overpower even the most potent, foul-smelling breath,” says William Graves, DMD. “However, most sane people don’t carry parsley in their purse or pocket, so a more common way to cure this ailment is to chew gum,” Dr. Graves continues. “Though not a good alternative to brushing your teeth and tongue, sugarless gum is a fast, easy, convenient way to give some relief to your friends and coworkers. Sugarless gum not only helps to mask the pungent smell of your breath, it also stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva, which will help fight the bacteria.”

Brush and Floss Twice Daily

There’s a reason this piece dental advice has withstood the test of time: it works. “This staple routine helps remove food particles and reduce gum inflammation, which in turn freshens breath,” says Dr. Mohiuddin. So don’t skip out on this daily habit.

Clean Your Tongue

Have you ever noticed a white film on your tongue? “That film is the accumulation of bacteria that is just hanging out on your tongue,” says Dr. Mohiuddin. It’s a sign that your tongue could use some TLC. Brushing your tongue when do your teeth is critical. But tongue scrapers can also be beneficial. Your neighborhood drugstore should cary a variety of tongue scrapers in varying sizes and shapes. Most work perfectly fine; just remember to replace it often and clean it regularly.

Quit Smoking and Using Tobacco Products

“This is a no-brainer, but smoking can dry out your mouth and cause an unpleasant smell that lingers even after you brush your teeth,” says Dr. Mohiuddin. It’s best to avoid the habit altogether as a best dental practice.

Drink Less Coffee

Coffee contains compounds that can cause bad breath, and sipping on your morning joe can dehydrate you — only worsening the stench. “Try limiting your intake to one cup or less per day and consciously drink more water,” says Dr. Mohiuddin.

See Your Dentist Regularly

Gum infections or decaying teeth can contribute to bad breath. Don’t skip out on your six-month cleanings,” says Dr. Mohiuddin. Keeping your teeth really clean is one of the most effective ways to ward off bad breath.

Get Your Acid Reflux in Check

Uncontrolled GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disease] can lead to some of the worst bad breath. Make an appointment with your physician to talk about treatment options,” says Dr. Mohiuddin.

The Bottom Line

Bad breath can be addressed in a number of ways, many of which are quick and easy remedies. But if your bad breath persists after trying these lifestyle changes, it’s best to see a doctor, per the Mayo Clinic.

— Additional reporting by Alexis Jones

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