Prevention and treatment of bad breath

Prevention and treatment of bad breath


In our last post, we mentioned 11 common causes of bad breath. Today we discuss prevention and treatment. The following list is in a certain order. We think most people would be most helped by starting at the top solution and working down.

Bad breath prevention and treatment

Improve oral hygiene

  • Brush at least twice a day after meals
  • Brush for at least two minutes, all tooth surfaces; concentrate especially where the gum meets the tooth
  • Floss once or twice a day. Brushing only cleans 60% of your tooth surface
  • Change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months
  • See your dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year
  • Use a separate toothbrush (or a tongue scrapper) to clean your tongue daily
  • After brushing and before bed, use an alcohol-free, fluoride mouthwash
  • Clean any dental appliances as recommended by your dentist

Drink plenty of water

If you are dehydrated, your saliva flow will decrease. A good salivary flow, along with a clean mouth, is the best defense against bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum

Any gum, lozenge or mint that you like is probably fine, as long as the label says sugarless. One main way these help is that they increase your salivary flow. If the label says it contains xylitol, that’s a plus, because xylitol inhibits oral bacteria.

Don’t smoke

 If you smoke and don’t quit, solving the problem will be much more difficult.

Avoid certain foods

 Such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods. After drinking coffee, brush your teeth and drink plenty of water. Watch your alcohol intake. Avoid sugary foods that easily attract bacteria between your teeth. As we discussed, certain diets can also worsen your breath.

Eat certain foods

  • Parsley contains chlorophyll, a natural breath freshener
  • Fennel seeds
  • Sugar-free yogurt with active cultures
  • Green tea contains catechin, a strong antioxidant that diminishes the bacterial count
  • Apples, fruits in general (especially melons), raw carrots, celery or cucumber. The roughness and fiber acts as a natural toothbrush as you chew. Some people get relief from eating herbs such as ginger or cinnamon.

Get a complete checkup

As we discussed, a number of chronic infections or other medical conditions can lead to bad breath. If your bad breath persists, get a checkup with lab tests as needed.

Check for stomach and esophagus problems

 If you suspect acid reflux, or an esophageal or stomach disorder, talk to your doctor or better,  a gastroenterologist. Sometimes acid reflux can be mostly silent, and the main symptom might be bad breath.

Clear a blocked nose

If you have allergies or an anatomical obstruction that is blocking your nose, you might see an otolaryngologist. Don’t use the commonly bought nasal decongestants. They work well for a few days, but after that, you can end up “addicted”. Better to see a specialist to find the root of the problem.

Remember that bad breath may have several causes in one person, so you might have to do most or all of these measures to improve your situation. If none of these help, go back to your dentist and doctor and ask them to look deeper. Seeing a gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, or otolaryngologist might be reasonable as well.

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

12 foods that help prevent and relieve constipation

Foods and drinks that help fight acid reflux

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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