When people say that they want a more radiant smile, they’re usually talking about radiating luminosity—i.e., a bigger, brighter, and whiter grin. But, depending on how good their dental and oral hygiene is, the only thing that some smiles radiate is a noxious odour.
Halitosis—the clinical term for bad breath—can dampen the luminosity of any smile. Even if you have the whitest teeth and the widest grin, bad breath can keep you from smiling with confidence. Fortunately, it’s a whole lot easier to get minty-fresh breath than you might think.
There are tons of simple and natural home remedies for bad breath that will have you radiating joy with confidence all over town.
Causes of Bad Breath
In order to combat bad breath, we first have to understand what causes it. Most cases of halitosis are the result of odour-causing bacteria in your mouth. Identifying how, exactly, those bacteria grow can bring you one kilowatt closer to a million-dollar smile.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva is your very own brand of mouthwash. It cleanses your palate, remineralizes your teeth, and washes away bad bacteria. But once your salivary glands stop producing your patented mouthwash, odour-causing bacteria can grow and thrive. Foods and beverages—such as coffee, alcohol, and tobacco products—that reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth could be the cause of malodorous grins. Also, some medications can have negative effects on your salivary glands so you’ll want to speak with your dentist before beginning any new medication regimen.
- Strongly Flavoured Foods: Certain foods such as garlic, onions and strong spices contain chemical compounds that enter the bloodstream and the lungs. While it’s definitely true that garlic bread would make your blood taste unpalatable to Count Dracula—wherever he is—it would also make your breath less than appealing to your special Valentine. Many foods and spices that cause mouth odours have other health benefits so one shouldn’t avoid them just to have an alpine-fresh smile. There are other ways to get a smile that smells as nice as it looks.
- Health Problems: Just because odours emanate from your mouth doesn’t mean that they start there—though most do. Certain underlying health problems can also contribute to bad breath. Liver and kidney disease, diabetes, respiratory tract infections, and even postnasal drips can all cause bad breath.
Natural Remedies for Bad Breath
Freshening your breath and getting that more radiant smile isn’t as difficult as you might think.
- Good Dental & Oral Hygiene: The first step in combatting bad breath is to maintain good dental and oral hygiene. Flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day removes food particles that encourage the growth of bad bacteria. Maintaining the health of your teeth and gums doesn’t just reduce your chances of developing gum disease, it also improves your smile. For truly stellar oral hygiene, consider a warm water rinse after every meal to wash out food particles and bad bacteria.
- Stay Hydrated: As we discussed before, saliva has a lot to do with keeping your mouth clean and smelling fresh—it’s also almost all water. In order for your salivary glands to produce the right amount of saliva, they’re going to need water and lots of it. Popular wisdom says that we should all be drinking 8 glasses of water a day. While that’s a fair estimate for the average person, your own water intake needs will vary depending on your age, weight, level of activity, diet, and underlying health conditions.
- Chewing Gum: Normally, your dentist would advise you to steer clear of chewing gum. But not all chewing gums are the same. One of the quickest—and tastiest—ways to combat bad breath is with a sugar-free stick of gum. Some brands contain zinc salts that research has proven are effective at combating sulfur compounds that cause bad breath. Additionally, chewing gum induces saliva production which we now know washes away odour causing bacteria.
- Herbs: A 2002 study found that parsley was effective at combating sulfur compounds that contribute to bad breath. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that nibbling on a sprig of parsley alone will freshen your breath but adding it to your diet won’t—unless you’re allergic. In which case, it’s better to stick to mouthwash.
- Apples: An apple a day will not, unfortunately, keep the dentist away. But it can keep bad breath at bay. A 2014 study found that apples have compounds that neutralize the odorous chemicals found in garlic. So instead of giving up on garlic bread altogether, just add an apple to the plate and continue to smile with confidence. Plus, you’ll look very sophisticated serving apple slices with garlic bread.
- Green Tea: Green tea has antimicrobial properties that can add a couple of kilowatts to your killer smiler. A 2008 study found that green tea—much like parsley and zinc—was effective at combating bad breath causing sulfur compounds. Additionally, there is some research that indicates that green tea moderately reduces your chances of developing periodontal or gum disease.
Talk to Your Dentist
Finding the cause—and the cure—of bad breath isn’t always so easy. Nevertheless, at Portrait Dental we’re determined to maximize the voltage and minimize the miasma of your smile.
Learn more about our array of luminosity-boosting dental services or book your next appointment with us.