5 Simple Steps to Treat Bad Breath
By Dr. Brett Silverman | Apr 25, 2022 | General Oral Care
Do you have bad breath that just won’t go away? We’ve all been there, but how do you treat bad breath and get rid of it once and for all?
Medically known as halitosis, chronic bad breath can embarrass the sufferer and those around them.
Mints and gum do little to mask the powerful stench of garlic, onions, or fish. Drinking plenty of water will wash away some odor, but volatile sulfur compounds, or VFCs, are a common cause of bad breath. VFCs are the natural byproduct of bacteria, so bacterial overgrowth leads to foul mouth odor.
Bad breath can also be caused by medications, a dry mouth, or an underlying oral health condition, such as periodontal disease, cavities, or infection.
If you have bad breath, don’t be embarrassed! Take action! Follow these five steps to freshen up your mouth and your self-confidence.
1. Correctly Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day
You’ve probably heard it all your life: brush your teeth two times a day, once in the morning and once before bed. This twice-daily practice removes harmful pathogens, including those that cause gum disease, cavities, tooth infections, and bad breath.
As simple as it sounds, brushing your teeth removes plaque, the yellowish, stick, and stinky bacterial film that naturally forms on the teeth, before it hardens.
Plaque left on the teeth for 48 hours will harden into the insoluble substance that dentists and hygienists call tartar or calculus.
Additionally, the longer bad bacteria remain in the warm, moist environment of your mouth, the more they reproduce and the more damage (and stench) they cause.
How to Effectively Brush Your Teeth
As a rule of thumb, the American Dental Association recommends the “2 by 2 rule,” which translates to brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Properly brushing your teeth is easy as 1-2-3:
- Step 1: Grasp your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
- Step 2: Gently scrub up and down in tooth-wide strokes.
- Step 3: Thoroughly brush all exposed dental surfaces, top and bottom, backs and fronts
Maintaining good oral hygiene, however, requires more than correctly brushing your teeth.
2. Brush Your Tongue Daily to Help Treat Bad Breath
Do you brush your tongue? If you answered “no,” you are among the vast majority.
Although tongue brushing is not common, it’s an essential step for mitigating stinky breath. The tongue’s surface is covered in tiny bumps called papilla. Bacteria accumulate on and between papilla.
Then, as they do on teeth, bacteria on the tongue lead to bad breath.
Your mouth will never be totally clean unless you brush your tongue. Over time, a bacterial biofilm formed on your tongue, can be responsible for:
- Desensitizing your taste buds
- Disrupting the digestive process
- Causing bad breath
How to Successfully Scrape Your Tongue
Oral bacteria colonies are tenacious, so the best way to remove them is with a tongue scraper, which you can readily find in most dental care products aisles.
Thankfully, the process is simple to learn.
- Before brushing, carefully run the tongue scraper across the top surface of your tongue and gently scrape away layers of bacteria.
- Rinse the scraper and repeat until scraping produces no residue.
- Then brush and floss normally.
If you don’t like the way a tongue scraper feels, you can use your trusty toothbrush to remove bad-breath- and disease-causing bacteria.
Also, some toothbrushes have ridges on the back of the head. These built-in, specialized ridges can also scrape bacteria off the tongue.
3. Floss Between Your Teeth
Have you ever considered how much muck ends up between your teeth after you eat? With every snack and meal, tiny food particles lodge in the spaces between, and crevices on, your teeth.
Tooth brushing alone doesn’t effectively remove debris from between your teeth.
Your dentist or hygienist probably asks about your flossing habits at every checkup, and rightfully so. Flossing is a vital component of maintaining good oral health. Flossing once daily removes odorous bacteria and plaque stuck between your teeth.
Does your breath still smell bad after you floss? It should.
Trapped food particles in your mouth have begun to rot, and as you dislodge them, you’ll notice their odor. Floss before brushing, so toothpaste can combat the odor. If you also use mouthwash, you’ll go to bed with minty-fresh breath.
There’s More Than One Way to Floss
Do you despise flossing? Does it seem cumbersome and clumsy wrapping and tugging and reaching the very back molars? If the awkwardness of flossing with traditional dental floss or tape, try one of these options:
- Disposable, pre-threaded flossers
- Tiny, interdental brushes
- Air and water flossers
4. Use Therapeutic Mouthwash for Bad Breath Treatment
A therapeutic mouthwash, rather than a cosmetic mouthwash, can be the cherry on top of a solid oral hygiene routine.
In conjunction with daily brushing and flossing, mouthwash freshens breath by destroying and rinsing away bacteria, as well as any remaining food particles on your teeth, gums, tongue, and other soft tissues.
Look for a Mouthwash with the ADA Seal
The ADA Seal of Acceptance is awarded to products that have been tested and are proven to accomplish what the label promises. By choosing an ADA-approved mouthwash that claims to whiten teeth, kill bacteria, desensitize teeth, or rebuild tooth enamel, you can rest assured that the product will do the job as advertised.
5. Treat Bad Breath with Professional Dental Cleanings
A big part of maintaining fresh breath and good oral health requires attending a dental checkup and cleaning twice a year, or more often if advised by our dentist or hygienist.
At Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, GA, our team of detail-oriented dental hygienists help patients win the fight against bad breath. Unlike at-home brushing and flossing, professional dental cleanings remove calculus between teeth, at the gum line, and beyond if necessary.
A deep dental cleaning involves scaling teeth to eliminate plaque and calculus below the gumline. The second component of a deep cleaning, called root planing, smoothes rough points on teeth roots to eliminate places where plaque builds up.
Follow these five steps to treat bad breath and get fresh breath…then you’ll enjoy speaking, smiling, and kissing with confidence!
For more advice on how to combat your bad breath, or to address other dental concerns., schedule your checkup and cleaning today. Call our Alpharetta, GA dental office at 678-736-8633 or email us right now.