You’ve just been on one of the best dates of your life. The movie was captivating, dinner was delicious, and your conversation with your date was wonderful. As the night ends, you drop your date off and lean in for a kiss. Suddenly, your date takes a huge step back and practically slams their front door in your face. With horror, you realize your bad breath drove your date away. Don’t let this happen again! Here are some tips to put a stop to bad breath and celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month.
1. Brush Twice a Day
A sticky film of food particles and bacteria called plaque constantly forms on your teeth and causes bad breath. One of the only ways to get rid of it is to brush your teeth every morning and night. Be sure to brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your pearly whites to get rid of plaque on three of the five surfaces.
2. Clean Between Your Teeth
Removing plaque from the other two sides of your teeth requires flossing. It might not be most people’s favorite activity, but it’s essential in keeping your mouth clean. Bits of food can easily get trapped in between your teeth and result in – you guessed it – bad breath. Flossing once a day, ideally right before bed, should be enough to keep your mouth fresh.
3. Rinse with Mouthwash
Did you know that your teeth account for less than half the space in your mouth? This means that bacteria may accumulate in areas of your mouth that your toothbrush and floss alone cannot reach. That’s where mouthwash comes in. Besides just freshening your breath, mouthwash cleans the soft tissues in your mouth that brushing and flossing can’t. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends staying away from mouthwashes with alcohol in them.
4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Clinical studies from the ADA have demonstrated that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating may reduce the risk of tooth decay. Chewing stimulates the creation of saliva, which rinses the mouth out of excess food debris and bacteria. Packing a stick of sugar-free gum, especially a mint-flavored variety, in your lunch can keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh at the same time.
5. Visit Your Dentist
If you follow all these steps and your breath is still driving dates away, see your dentist. Your breath may be a sign of another health condition, like diabetes. Alternatively, it could mean that you’re due for your next professional cleaning to get rid of built-up plaque.
Don’t let bad breath deter people from getting to know you. Follow these tips to keep your mouth healthy and clean!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry. His professional affiliations include the American Dental Association and the Florida Dental Association. If you or the people in your life have been less than satisfied with your breath lately, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Nawrocki by clicking here or calling (904) 272-1588.