Life is filled with embarrassing moments, but most of them are fairly fleeting. It's much easier to wind up on the losing end when you're unaware of how you come off, and bad breath is a classic example. When you don't even know you have it – and most people hold their tongues around you – this condition can fester for too long.
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are 10 fresh breath tips that, with a little diligence, can help your mouth smell as pleasant as the smile it sits behind.
You Are What You Eat
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. And if you eat certain foods enough, you'll smell like them too. Garlic and onions are classic culprits, but you should limit acidic and high-fructose foods as well. Most acids and sugars ramp up the production of germs in the mouth, resulting in bad breath. Common seafoods like tuna are just as potent, but consider limiting dairy and coffee, too. The latter has its own acidity and creates quite the smell when it mixes with your stomach acids.
Watch What You Drink
In addition to watching what you eat, it is important to check your liquid consumption. Coffee and alcohol both contain a potent residue that sticks to existing mouth plaque. When you exhale, this will spread a rather foul scent.
Another way to make sure your mouth stays fresh is to carry a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you. They're small enough to fit in your purse or backpack, and are the perfect way to ensure the germs of a pungent lunch don't stay in your mouth until you get home. Keep them in your desk at work, too.
Update the Equipment
Brushing your teeth builds a foundation for good oral care, and promoting fresh breath is a part of this process. But you need to make sure you're using a good toothbrush – that means replacing it more frequently than you might think. You wouldn't drive your car for two years without having the brakes changed, so why keep using a toothbrush with frayed bristles? Replace your toothbrush every three to four months and your oral care routine will never go bad.
Water is vital to the human body, as you know. In addition to flushing out toxins, it keeps you hydrated and stimulates your saliva glands, which cleanse your tongue and teeth of food debris throughout the day. This prevents the build-up of germs that contribute to bad breath.
Eat Your Greens
Show of hands if you were told to eat your greens when you were growing up... One of the greens that helps keep your breath minty fresh is parsley. Next time you're eating out, save the parsley topping on your meal until the end. Your palate will thank you.
It's common knowledge that smoking can cause serious medical conditions, such as cancer and emphysema. But it also makes for quite an unpleasant mouth odour. If you suffer from a nicotine addiction, talk to your doctor about how to quit. Your breath (and your health) are too important.
Although brushing and flossing are staples of oral care, the tongue is often neglected when it comes to cleaning the mouth. When this is the case, it becomes a haven for the build-up of germs. If you can, use a toothbrush equipped with a tongue scraper on the back of the brushing head to help clean your tongue and tame the bad breath it causes. Otherwise, simply clean your tongue with the bristles of your regular toothbrush.
Conduct Good Oral Hygiene
Flossing and brushing once and twice a day, respectively, are key to the pursuit of healthier breath. If you're fighting an oral condition, you might even consider brushing a third time. After a big meal, for example, make a point of brushing your teeth to ensure you come away with a pleasant-smelling mouth. Keep in mind that floss containers are small enough to carry when you're out of the house. You may also supplement your brushing and flossing routine with a swish of mouthwash to keep your breath fresh, even if you have thoroughly cleansed your teeth.
Regular dental check-ups go hand-in-hand with consistent brushing and flossing. If you have any questions about what type of oral care plan works best for you, feel free to raise them during these visits – which should come at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.
Bad breath is one of life's annoying little quirks. As unpleasant as it is, following these fresh breath tips will make your mouth healthy in any potentially embarrassing situation.