These tips have *nothing* to do with garlic and onion.
You can expect a temporarily putrid mouth after indulging in some fettuccini alfredo or an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese. That’s a given. But onion and garlic shouldn’t get all the blame for bad breath.
The reason for your bad breath lies more in your oral hygiene than your diet. “Bad breath usually comes from what we call ‘stinky sulfur compounds,’ [which makes] that rotten egg smell,” says Jennifer Jablow, DDS, dentist in New York City. “That’s from the bacteria that’s underneath your gum line, on your tongue, [and] on the inside of your cheeks.”
The stench comes from bacteria in your mouth, which feed on the plaque on your teeth. Plaque is that layer of film that builds up on your teeth. When plaque isn’t cleaned off, it can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and—yep—bad breath.
So to keep bad breath at bay—without giving up garlic bread—here are tips from Dr. Jablow for a fresher, cleaner mouth every day.
1. Maintain good oral hygiene.
Once you know the cause of bad breath, the best solution is obvious: Remove the plaque buildup on your teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. With less plaque stuck on your teeth, your mouth will be a less inviting place for bacteria and you’ll be less prone to bad breath.
2. Use alcohol-free mouthwash.
Mouthwashes with alcohol may freshen breath initially, but the results won’t last. “Alcohol dries out the mouth and you’ll actually get worse rebound bad breath,” explains Dr. Jablow.
Your own saliva is actually your sidekick when it comes to fighting bad breath. With saliva constantly flowing in your mouth, the fluid helps rinse away bacteria on the teeth throughout the day. (Drinking water helps, too.)
When the mouth is dry, bacteria can run rampant in the mouth and create more of a stench, so you’ll be reaching back for the mouthwash all day long.
Dr. Jablow also suggests finding a mouthwash with a zinc compound or with xylitol. These would be classified as therapeutic mouthwashes, according to ADA, which actually reduce plaque and bacteria, as opposed to simply masking odor temporarily.
3. Try sugar-free candies.
A dentist recommending candy? It sounds strange, but it may help get rid of bad breath.
The reason is because sugar-free candies contain xylitol. “Xylitol helps make plaque less sticky to the teeth,” says Dr. Jablow. “It also promotes neutralizing an acid environment, so you have a very healthy pH in your mouth and the bacteria can’t thrive there.”
On the other hand, here are the worst candies for your teeth.
4. Chew on parsley.
“Parsley has natural chlorophyll so that will help to activate against the bad breath,” says Dr. Jablow. Other herbs (like basil, mint, and cilantro) can also help, but many people find parsley the most pleasant to much on its own. Bring on the tabbouleh salad, #amirite?
5. Brush before bed.
You obviously want to brush your teeth before heading to work in the morning, but it’s possibly even more important to brush before bed.
Remember how saliva helps fight away plaque? Well, your saliva production goes way down at night while you sleep. That means plaque and bacteria fester throughout the night, leading to a somewhat inevitable case of morning breath.
You can’t beat morning breath entirely, but you can minimize it by brushing your teeth before bed and starting the night with a clean mouth. And don’t forget your tongue: It’s a hot spot for bacteria to linger, according to ADA.
The Importance of Seeing Your Dentist
If you’re falling good oral care practices and still having smelly breath—with or without eating sour cream and onion chips—there might be an underlying health condition that’s affecting your breath.
In addition to getting a professional cleaning to reduce plaque, visiting your dentist regularly can also help detect health issues that may be causing bad breath. “Your dentist can see if maybe it’s something with your gum tissue,” says Dr. Jablow, “or maybe there’s a problem [with] your stomach, or even possibly your tonsils.”
Otherwise, brush up! Find out a dentist’s rules for choosing the right toothbrush here.
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A lot of people think it's just eating
stinky foods that cause bad breath.
00:00:06,730 --> 00:00:11,719
But the major reasons for bad breath
is not brushing your teeth enough,
00:00:11,719 --> 00:00:12,810
00:00:12,810 --> 00:00:18,716
00:00:18,716 --> 00:00:22,728
Bad breath usually comes from what
we call stinky sulfur compounds,
00:00:22,728 --> 00:00:24,480
that rotten egg smell.
00:00:24,480 --> 00:00:27,874
And that's from the bacteria
that's underneath your gum line,
00:00:27,874 --> 00:00:30,286
on your tongue,
on the inside of your cheeks.
00:00:30,286 --> 00:00:33,080
The bacteria comes from
plaque that's left behind.
00:00:33,080 --> 00:00:36,630
And then the bacteria actually feeds
on the plaque that's left behind.
00:00:36,630 --> 00:00:39,087
And that's what produces
that sulfur smell.
00:00:39,087 --> 00:00:43,465
You should be brushing twice a day,
flossing at least once daily to get that
00:00:43,465 --> 00:00:48,415
bacteria that the toothbrush can't reach
and using a mouthwash with zero alcohol.
00:00:48,415 --> 00:00:54,204
Alcohol dries out the mouth and you'll
actually get worse rebound bad breath.
00:00:54,204 --> 00:00:56,388
So you want a mouthwash with no alcohol,
00:00:56,388 --> 00:01:00,964
preferably something with a zinc compound
cuz zinc fights bad breath at its source.
00:01:00,964 --> 00:01:05,036
And something preferably with xylitol
which also helps neutralize the acids in
00:01:05,036 --> 00:01:06,070
00:01:06,070 --> 00:01:09,370
I also recommend patients to suck
on candies that are sugar free and
00:01:09,370 --> 00:01:11,230
have a sweetener called xylitol.
00:01:11,230 --> 00:01:14,190
Xylitol helps make plaque
less sticky to the teeth.
00:01:14,190 --> 00:01:18,030
It also promotes neutralizing and
00:01:18,030 --> 00:01:20,510
So you have a very healthy
pH in your mouth and
00:01:20,510 --> 00:01:22,934
the bacteria can't thrive there as well.
00:01:22,934 --> 00:01:28,593
Parsley has natural chlorophyll so that'll
help to activate against the bad breath.
00:01:28,593 --> 00:01:32,692
When you go to sleep, your natural
saliva protection is basically gone.
00:01:32,692 --> 00:01:35,873
So your gonna create a really bad
environment in your mouth if you don't
00:01:35,873 --> 00:01:37,366
brush right before you go to bed.
00:01:37,366 --> 00:01:39,587
Your gonna wake up with
terrible bad breath, but
00:01:39,587 --> 00:01:41,984
your also gonna become much
more prone to cavities.
00:01:41,984 --> 00:01:45,260
So we all deal with bad breath
at some time or another.
00:01:45,260 --> 00:01:48,920
So you have to understand there might be
an underlying cause to the bad breath and
00:01:48,920 --> 00:01:51,090
it's not just the foods
that you're eating.
00:01:51,090 --> 00:01:54,164
So it's important that you're at least
visiting your dentist twice a year and
00:01:54,164 --> 00:01:55,667
you can discuss it with your dentist.
00:01:55,667 --> 00:01:59,464
So your dentist can see if maybe it's
something with your gum tissue or maybe
00:01:59,464 --> 00:02:03,815
there's a problem with something with your
stomach, or even possibly your tonsils.
00:02:03,815 --> 00:02:07,674
So it's important to get to the doctor to
investigate why you're having bad breath
00:02:07,674 --> 00:02:09,783
cuz there might be
an underlying cause to it.
00:02:09,783 --> 00:02:15,252
Bad breath: 6 causes (and 7 solutions). Chicago, IL: American Dental Association. (Accessed on June 6, 2018 at https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/bad-breath.)
Mouthwash. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association. (Accessed on June 6, 2018 at https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthwash.)
Plaque. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association. (Accessed on June 6, 2018 at https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/plaque.)