Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
To reduce or prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
- Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
- Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may help reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
- Clean your dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a partial or complete denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.
- Avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth. Chew gum or suck on candy — preferably sugarless — to stimulate saliva. If you have chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
- Adjust your diet. Avoid food and beverages that can cause bad breath. Avoid sticky, sugary foods.
- Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed, about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist on a regular basis — generally once or twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.
Bad breath: Causes and tips for controlling it. American Dental Association. http://jada.ada.org. Accessed Oct. 15, 2012.
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