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How to Prevent Bad Breath

We've all been embarrassed by occasional bouts of bad breath after eating a roasted garlic pizza or a sandwich piled with onions. If you're dealing with bad breath all the time, though, it can be mortifying. So here are some tips to keep your mouth smelling fresh.

  • Quit cigarettes if you're a smoker.
  • Get your teeth checked out by your dentist. Cavities and gum disease can cause bad breath.
  • Brush and floss during the day, every time you eat. When food particles hang out in your mouth, bacteria collects and emits stinky hydrogen sulfur vapors. So keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in your purse at all times to use after coffee breaks, lunch, and snacks.
  • Drink more water. It'll help keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum.
  • Don't mask your bad breath with sugary mints. They'll freshen your breath briefly, but the sugar will only cause more stinky plaque to build up. If you can't brush, go for sugarless gum instead since chewing increases saliva production, which is your best weapon against bad breath.

What else can help prevent bad breath? To find out,


  • If you suffer from allergies or sinus infections, postnasal drip in the back of your throat can cause bad breath. So get your symptoms under control with antibiotics or allergy meds.
  • Keep in mind, though, that certain medications such as decongestants or allergy pills can cause dry mouth, which can also lead to bad breath. When your mouth is dry, dead cells and bacteria accumulate on your gums, tongue, and teeth. When these cells decompose, they produce a foul smell. Water helps, but if your symptoms are really bothering you try switching medications.
  • Eat yogurt. Studies have found that one serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Be sure to eat ones with active cultures.
  • Avoid certain foods such as garlic, onions, and alcohol. Once consumed, these foods get absorbed into your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs, and are given off in your breath.
  • To help prevent the buildup of plague, which can cause bad breath, eat crunchy fibrous foods such as apples, carrots, and celery.
  • Bacterium aren't a fan of foods such as citrus fruits, berries, and melon because they make the environment in your mouth too acidic, so get your fill of vitamin C. Another plus for consuming vitamin C is that it also helps prevent gum disease and gingivitis.
  • Chew herbs such as parsley, coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and cardamom. These all help fight bad breath.
  • Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper. Use it twice a day to remove bacteria and dead skin cells from your tongue.
Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
jesssa jesssa 8 years
ugh... is it just me or does the mere thought of a tongue scraper make anyone else sick? lol
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I eat a LOT of abrasive foods that naturally clean your mouth...apples, carrots, lettuce, etc. I also brush and floss and make sure to stay well-hydrated. I also think that my body's got good flora throughout, especially in my mouth...I rarely get cavities and my teeth look great.
1apple 1apple 8 years
So true, mamasitamalita. Hunger = halitosis!
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
The buildup of plague! Oh noes! (I think you have a typo in the fifth bullet)
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
Ooh, I just discovered that you can buy small toothbrushes that fit in a purse that have toothpaste already coating the bristles so you don't need to carry separate toothpaste. They're great for when you have that dinner/lunch with a client and you want to freshen your breath before continuing the work discussion. The only downside is since they are disposable and not meant for more than one use, they aren't environmentally friendly. But I suppose you could reuse them, you'd just have to keep toothpaste handy.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
This is why I brush and floss my teeth after each meal. When it comes to my oral hygiene, I am borderline OCD. I don't like food stuck in my teeth, and food odor on my breath. Yuck. Also, my husband and I kiss a lot. I like the peace of mind knowing that my mouth and breath are clean and fresh.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
to help morning bad breath - EAT something!! even if your mouth is minty fresh your breath can still be bad, and its because basically your "fumes" are from 8+ hours of food digestion/decomposition. eating new food gives the stomach something to work on and the smells won't be that bad.
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