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How to Fight Bad Breath

How to Fight Bad Breath

Publish date:     Author: with insights from Pooneh Ram, DDS and Dr. Paris Sabo
Topics: bad breath,  brushing,  flossing,  mouthwash,  

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is an embarrassing yet common condition that effects more than 50 percent of adults at some point in their lives. Here are tips to fight bad breath - even when you’re without a toothbrush.

What causes bad breath in the first place?

Habits, health problems and certain foods can cause bouts of foul-smelling breath, but it’s mostly due to excessive buildup of certain bacteria on the back of the tongue. 
  • Poor dental hygiene often results in bad breath, inflamed gums and cavities because harmful bacteria remain the mouth.
  • Smoking on its own projects a displeasing smell. Smokers and tobacco users are also more likely to develop gum disease, which can provoke halitosis.
  • Infections, diseases and other medical conditions like sinusitis, diabetes or a kidney ailment may create a sour mouth odor.
  • Once broken down in the body, some medications release chemicals that can indirectly produce a stinky scent that’s expelled through the mouth.
  • The decomposition of food particles in the mouth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain items like onions, garlic and spices can also lead to bad breath.

Here's how to treat halitosis...

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day, for two minutes, is the best way to tackle bad breath and prevent more serious dental issues.
  • Using a tongue scraper is also an effective solution. When used properly, it collects surface bacteria and removes them from the body.
  • Finish up with an alcohol-free mouthwash that will help manage dry mouth, which contributes to bad breath due to a decrease in saliva.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. If you have concerns about halitosis or underlying health problems, talk to your dentist about finding the right treatment for you.

And what if you don't have a toothbrush handy?

No worries! It's time to get creative. 

  • Drink lots of water to combat dehydration, which can cause or worsen bad breath. Rinse and swirl some H2O around in your mouth to help get rid of lingering food particles.
  • Chew on parsley or mint leaves to naturally freshen breath- but don't swallow them! (Hint: You can find these in restaurants or bars when you're out and about.)
  • If you do have toothpaste, wrap a paper towel around your finger and use it as a brush. No paper towel? Just use your finger instead.
  • Pop in a mint or a piece of gum. Make sure they are sugar-free because sugar can feed the bacteria living on your tongue.


Need a travel size mouthwash? Keep it in your car or handbag to quickly banish bad breath and alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

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