Did you know that and estimated 65 percent of Americans suffer from bad breath? It’s true! Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is caused by poor oral hygiene, eating certain foods, medical issues, a lack of saliva (dry mouth), gum disease and smoking among other things.
But just how important is fresh breath? According to a survey conducted by Match.com, it just might cost you your dating life. The survey asked 5,000 singles how important fresh breath is on a first date. Forty-three percent said it was more important than stylish clothing, perfume, beautiful skin or great hair. The survey also concluded that bad breath is one of the top 3 most unattractive traits in a dating prospect.
Yikes! Time to get this halitosis situation under control. Here are five ways to fight bad breath.
1. Brushing & Flossing
There are a billion reasons why brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily is a good idea. Combating bad breath is one of them. Brushing your teeth well is critical to removing food particles that can decay on your teeth, leading to bacteria. And bacteria = stinky breath. Flossing is also important because it removes bacteria that gets wedged in between your teeth.
2. Regular Dental Check Ups
Get to the dentist’s office twice a year for a cleaning and dental exam. Dental cleanings are done by trained professionals who have special tools that allow them to get your teeth much cleaner than you can at home. They remove tartar with scalers and then buff your teeth with an electric handpiece.
3. Tackle Your Tongue
The tongue is a hotspot for bacteria that causes stinky breath. Because the surface of the tongue is rough, food particles accumulate easily in its cracks and crevices.
This is where a tongue brush or a tongue scraper come into play. These handy little tools remove buildup on your tongue with ultimate effectiveness. They work better than a toothbrush because the bristles are made of plastic rather than nylon. And they are ultra-fine so they can pick up the smallest of food particles and bacteria.
*Did you know that certain types of bad breath can indicate different issues within the body? For example, breath that smells fruity can be symptomatic of undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes.
4. Make Friends With Mint
Mouthwash, gum, and mints will give your breath a fresh scent. But don’t use these minty products to cover up a bad smell. It is crucial to first remove the bacteria and then add something minty to enhance your breath. These products are perfect when you can’t immediately brush your teeth like right after lunch.
5. Diet & Hydration
Saliva keeps your mouth healthy and clean. To stimulate saliva production, eat crunchy (and healthy) foods like carrots and apples. Apples are particularly great because they also contain pectin which is known to neutralize odors. Drinking plenty of water is key because it removes food particles and thwarts dry mouth.
Be sure to replace your toothbrush regularly. When the bristles start to fray, it no longer is effectively removing the halitosis-causing critters that are hanging out on your teeth. The American Dental Association suggests changing it out every 3-4 months.