Have you tried to kiss someone or chat them up and their breath reminds you of a KCCA garbage skip?
Everyone wakes up with breath that is not fresh in the morning, there are those that carry this all day all night!. This is because bacteria keep multiplying in the mouth at night and there is no continuous flow of saliva to get to wash it away as is the case during waking hours.
This is easily sorted out when the teeth are brushed and flossed. Eating specific foods such as onions, garlic and heavily spiced food can also leave one with bad breath.
Again, this is easily taken care of with a toothbrush and toothpaste or some gum.
If the problem goes beyond this for you and bad breath persists throughout the day, then it is necessary to take measures to get rid of bad breath that go beyond brushing and flossing the teeth.
Want to prove you have bad breath?
Not everyone who has bad breath is aware that they have the problem. People’s odd reactions when you open your mouth to speak are a clue but there are ways to confirm your suspicions.
The scientific way is to use a bad breath meter which measures the quantity of sulfides in your breath.
At home, one way to find out if your breath smells is to take a piece of gauze and wipe it on your tongue. If the gauze comes out with a yellow color or with a smell, it is an indicator of high levels of sulfides in your body.
Sulfides are the cause of bad breath. Another way is to lick the back of your hand and smell it after 10 minutes. If they are present, sulfur salts will remain and they will smell.
A third way is to floss your teeth at the back and smell the floss.
How to get rid of bad breath
Having established that there is a problem, our in house dentist advises that you do the following to get fresh breath;
Don’t slack off about brushing and flossing your teeth. Do so after every meal. Carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to work if you have to so you can brush your teeth after lunch.
Getting dental check-ups twice a year is also important. Sometimes, bad breath is an indicator of a serious problem like unclean dentures, an abscess, gum disease or a tooth that is decaying.
Clean your tongue as you clean your teeth. The top of the tongue is a place that bacteria love to lodge, especially at the back of the mouth.
If the mouth is not cleaned after eating, a lot of remains are left here which bacteria start working on and causing odour.
Swirling water around the mouth after eating can take care of this such as after having a snack when the teeth won’t be brushed.
Using a tongue scraper every time along with brushing the teeth is also advisable.
What you eat also matters in you are trying to get rid of bad breath. Crisp, fresh foods naturally clean the teeth. This includes fruits and vegetables like apples, lettuce, carrots, pears and raw cucumber. Such foods also add antioxidants that boost health, including dental health.
Another way to use what Mother Nature provides to get rid of bad breath is to use herbs. Chewing raw parsley naturally cleans the palates and gets rid of odors.
Cardamom is also effective in fighting bad breath when used to cook meals. Sipping on black and green tea as well as herbal tea like peppermint tea also works.
Eating a diet low in carbohydrates to lose or maintain weight can also result in bad breath. Such a diet makes the body release ketones. These are foul-smelling chemicals that are released from the body through the breath.
Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth so bacteria are washed away. The key is to ensure that the gum is sugarless.
Gum with sugar should be avoided because sugar ferments bacteria which will worsen the problem.
Apart from sugarless gum, try and drastically cut down or completely avoid sugary foods and drinks and minimize the amount you add to your tea and coffee.
Dehydration also causes bad breath. Increase your intake of water. Keep sipping water all day rather than lug it down only after meals. It will keep your mouth clean and odor-free.
If the problem of a smelly mouth comes on suddenly, the culprit might be medication you have started taking. Some drugs given for high-blood pressure, allergies and depression may make your mouth dry which can cause it to smell.
Talk to your doctor or take extra water and chew sugarless gum.
Using mouth washes also helps to get rid of bad breath. Just avoid the type with alcohol as they make the mouth dry and worsen the problem.
If all fails, get a complete physical check-up. Sometimes, there is an underlying cause like a sinus infection, diabetes and reflux or liver problems.