August 6 is National Fresh Breath Day, so pop a mint and purchase a new pack of gum! In honor of this fun holiday that urges the appreciation of oral hygiene, take some time to think about how you could improve your oral hygiene game. Besides lousy breath being a sign of poor oral health, it can also impact your confidence and social life. From potential embarrassment to making worse first impressions, there are numerous negative consequences associated with bad breath.
Nobody wants to feel self-conscious about their breath. However, addressing the problem can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it. If you’re looking for ways to improve your bad breath, we’re here to help. Keep reading for five tips that can help you keep your mouth fresh all day long.
Replace Your Toothbrush
According to the CDC, it’s essential to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or as soon as the bristles start to look worn out. Not only do toothbrushes lose their effectiveness once their bristles begin to lose their stiffness, but they may also begin to carry the germs of infections like strep throat should they come in contact with them. It’s also a great idea to replace your toothbrush if anyone else uses it. Everyone’s mouth carries different bacteria, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and buy yourself a new toothbrush.
Using your toothbrush for longer than its recommended lifespan can have a significant impact on its effectiveness. According to one study, after 40 days of use, toothbrushes become much less efficient. Those who didn’t replace their toothbrushes by the 40th day experienced more plaque buildup, which can put you at a higher risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
You need to do more to care for your teeth and address bad breath than just brush twice a day. Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene for the following reasons:
- It can prevent gum disease.
- It can stop tooth decay between teeth.
- It can help you avoid bleeding and receding gums, as well as tooth and bone loss.
- It can improve the brightness of your teeth.
- It can freshen your breath.
Experts recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day. If you ignore flossing, it could affect not only your teeth, breath, and gums but also the rest of your body. Poor mouth health can contribute to bacteria buildup, which can increase your risk of conditions like stroke, arthritis, and heart disease and make pre-existing conditions worse. So, next time you’re tempted to go to sleep without flossing, consider taking a few minutes to do so—it will affect your health in more ways than one.
If your breath smells terrible after working out, it may be a sign that you aren’t drinking enough water. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath. When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce enough saliva, which means it can’t clean out debris, and bacteria have the chance to grow and cause bad breath.
This means that your bad breath could have an easy solution: drinking more water. You should pay extra close attention to this if you don’t drink enough water while working out, or throughout the day. Also, consider discussing this with your dentist, as they are experts in airway and oral health. They can ensure you’re up to par in your dental routine and taking the proper steps to success.
Have Routine Dental Exams
Routine dental exams can help you stay on top of more than just cavities. They can also help clean your mouth more deeply and get the rotten food that collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue out. Your dental team will clean all the problematic areas for you to reach, your dentist can look for areas where plaque may be building up, and you will receive tips for cleaning your teeth properly. Even if you brush and floss every day, you may still miss a few areas, so having a second pair of eyes to check for problem areas can be particularly helpful.
If you already have good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist biannually, consider another visit to your dentist to see if a more severe issue causes your bad breath. It could signify respiratory or tonsil infections, sinus problems, liver and kidney problems, or another medical disorder.
On top of brushing and flossing, using mouthwash can also help you maintain your oral health. Not only can mouthwash address bad breath, but it can also target other mouth concerns, such as teeth whitening or receding gums. Mouthwashes are full of bacteria-fighting ingredients that can further aid your oral health by fighting plaque. Mouthwashes can reduce plaque even more when used along with tooth brushing as compared to just brushing.
To get the most out of your mouthwash, remember to keep the following things in mind:
- Purpose: Does the mouthwash you’ve chosen address your needs? For example, if you want to target plaque buildup, search for a mouthwash with plaque-fighting ingredients. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for suggestions.
- Alcohol: Many types of mouthwash and rinses have alcohol, which can be problematic if a large amount is swallowed. If you have kids in your household, consider buying an alcohol-free mouthwash instead.
- Sensitivity: If you have sensitive gums or teeth, you may find some of the ingredients in mouthwash irritating. Alcohol-free or natural washes could help soothe your mouth rather than irritate it.
Not only does using mouthwash help you keep your breath minty fresh, but with the right one, you can also improve other aspects of your oral health, like plaque buildup.
Sometimes bad breath is solved by adding another simple step to your morning or night routine, like flossing, drinking more water, replacing your toothbrush, or using mouthwash. Other times, it may be a sign of something more serious. Whatever the reason, routine dental exams can help you stay on top of your oral health. Additionally, consider reaching out to your dentist again if your bad breath becomes a concern or does not improve with changes to your routine. There may be something deeper going on in your body, and dentists are in the best position to help oral, sleep, and airway-related issues.