How to Stop Bad Breath in Its Tracks

In the comfort of your own home, fresh breath is usually just a visit to the bathroom away. Unfortunately, you can't take your sink with you on a date, to a job interview or anywhere the condition known as halitosis might make an unwelcome appearance. Luckily, you don't need a full arsenal of toiletries to know how to stop bad breath in its tracks – even when you're without your toothbrush.

With a few freshening-up strategies in your back pocket, there's no reason your breath should ever be a cause for embarrassment.

  1. Eat Your Veggies - As Moms' everywhere consistently advise, you can never get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. Foods high in vitamin C can act as natural neutralizers for bad breath, particularly in dinners that include garlic and other rich seasonings. Consider supplementing your main course with a bag of baby carrots, or a few stalks of celery on the go. Apples can be helpful as well, or, if you're in a restaurant, limit your beverage to sweetened water.

  2. Chew Gum - Keeping a stick of sugarless gum in your pocket can be a lifesaver if you need to stop bad breath when it visits you at an especially inconvenient time. Most sugar-free gums are sweetened with xylitol, which, according to Healthy Living, inhibits the growth of germs that disrupt an otherwise neutral breath. When chewing, focus on working the gum across your tongue and deep into your molars. For an extra boost of fresh breath on a special occasion, stick with mint flavors and then supplement that freshness with a mint-scented lip balm or lip gloss.

  3. Take a Swig - Because saliva is a natural cleanser, dry mouth is a veritable breeding ground for odorous bacteria. Unfortunately, it often comes along with a set of nerves, which is usually the time when you need your breath to smell pleasant. Whether it's a date, interview, meeting or similarly stressful environment, keeping your mouth moist can go a long way toward banishing halitosis. Keep a bottle of water handy, and when you take a sip, make sure to swish the water around your mouth to rehydrate your tongue and gums.

  4. Tote a Toothbrush - You may not want to bring your toothbrush everywhere you go, but portable items like Colgate® Wisp® mean you don't need the bathroom sink to get rid of bad breath. Portable toothbrushes don't need water, allowing you to freshen up almost anywhere and then discreetly toss the toothbrush so there's no evidence there was an issue. Keeping portable toothbrushes, a couple of floss picks and a few mints in a small container in your bag can save you from a bad breath moment just about anywhere.

  5. Eat Your Garnish - If you're having dinner at your favorite Italian place, save the garnish for last: Herbs like parsley and mint are powerful breath neutralizers as well, especially if your bad breath is food-related. Pop a sprig in your mouth and chew for instantly fresher breath.

Don't let bad breath leave you blushing; it happens to everyone. But you don't need to be at home to go through your purifying routine. Instead, use what you have to tame your breath and make sure you're ready for anything.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Foul-smelling breath, usually caused by the breakdown of food. Other culprits include poor dental hygiene, dry mouth, disease, infection, tobacco use and severe dieting.


Most bad breath starts in your mouth, and there are many possible causes that include:

  • Food particles from stinky foods like garlic and onions
  • Smoking
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Acid Reflux
  • Poor Oral Hygiene