It's easy to improve your breath and keep your teeth and gums healthy at the same time. Try these simple steps to make your mouth feel fresh and clean.
1. Brush and floss more often.
Plaque, the sticky buildup on your teeth, collects bacteria that cause bad breath. Trapped food also adds to the problem. Brush your teeth at least two times each day, and floss at least once. If you're concerned about your breath, do both a little more often. Don't overdo things, though. If you brush too hard you can wear down your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.
2. Rinse your mouth out.
Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath. Don't just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breath at its source.
You can also help your breath if you swish your mouth with plain water after you eat. It can get rid of food particles that get stuck in your teeth.
3. Kick the tobacco habit.
Besides causing cancer, smoking can damage your gums, stain your teeth, and give you bad breath.
Over-the-counter nicotine patches can help tame the urge. If you need a little help, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about quit-smoking programs or prescription medications that can help you give up tobacco for good.
4. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.
The bacteria in your mouth love sugar. They use it to make acid. This wears down your teeth and causes bad breath. Chew sugarless gum instead.
"Gum stimulates saliva, which is the mouth's natural defense mechanism against plaque acids, which cause tooth decay and bad breath," Quinones says.
5. Keep your gums healthy.
Gum disease causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.
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