We’ve all felt the need at times to cover our mouths during conversation, in hopes our bad breath will go undetected. But sometimes the (literally) hand-made mask doesn’t work, and you’re left embarrassed.

The social anxiety bad breath causes is almost worse than the smell itself. But there are tips you can follow to proactively control your breath and even make it work for you.

  1. Drink water often to rinse your mouth and keep it moisturized. Try to ensure you have water to drink between meals to keep your mouth happy and your breath fresh.
  2. Chew on fresh herbs like mint, rosemary or thyme. Not only do you get to enjoy a refreshing taste in your mouth, but you also benefit from the chlorophyll in the leaves, which helps neutralize strong smells. Don’t know how to get your hands on fresh herbs? Grow them yourself. They’re inexpensive and easy to maintain indoors.
  3. Look for xylitol in the ingredient list of sugar-free gum and other dental products. Xylitol helps promote saliva production—saliva that combats bad breath bacteria.
  4. Brush and floss your teeth, and scrape your tongue. Practice good oral hygiene morning and night to control bad breath. Tongue scrapers are inexpensive and can be purchased at most drugstores. Also, don’t forget to have your teeth professionally cleaned about twice a year to ensure the removal of hard-to-reach plaque.
  5. Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Using mouthwash can feel very refreshing, but the wrong kind can do more harm than good. If a mouthwash includes alcohol, it will dry out the mouth, resulting in higher acid levels and bacteria that produce nasty-smelling gases. And while they claim to kill germs, the bottles don’t tell you that those germs repopulate rapidly—within the hour, in fact—causing bad breath to return much sooner than you’d like. Mouthwashes with alcohol also increase your chances of getting oral cancer, so by all means stay away from these products.

Bad breath is a sure thing for most adults unless steps are taken to address it. If you practice great hygiene and still struggle with persistent bad breath contact A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe to schedule an appointment. Dr. Jue and his team can help you determine what’s causing the halitosis and what needs to be done to combat it.