Minty fresh breath. It’s important, right? It’s a staple in toothpaste commercials, romantic comedies, and your prep for your big date. Mint gum, candy, and breath mints aren’t the best for your teeth, though, and can actually cause bad breath. Wait…what? That’s right. The sugar in these breath fresheners actually feed the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn leads to bad breath and tooth decay. Here are some tips to consider before you stand under the mistletoe this holiday season:
- Brush your tongue; smelly bacteria live all over it. If you’re thinking of giving someone a big ol’ smooch, brushing your tongue will prepare you for action.
- Skip the mint-flaovored mouthwash and gargle with hydrogen peroxide instead. Using a mouthwash that actually cleans your mouth will rid it of bacteria better than anything. Traditional mouthwashes might temporarily fix your bad breath problem, but they only mask the situation. Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, actually kills the mouth bacteria that cause bad breath. Just treat it like your other mouthwash: swish, swash, gargle, and spit.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is actually one of the most common causes of foul mouth odors. When you don’t drink enough water, you produce less saliva, which allows the bacteria to build up in your mouth.
- Treat infections. Doctors will tell you that it’s wise to let colds run their course, but if you notice that your cold isn’t going away, or that it’s morphed into a sinus infection, you need to get treated. Sinus infections can cause bad breath! Post-nasal drip (you know—when the snot runs from your nose and down the back of your throat, also the cause of coughing and scratchy throats) can make your breath stink.
- Eat yogurt. Yogurt has many health benefits—it can treat yeast infections and help with weight maintenance, but did you know that it can also help with bad breath? The good bacteria in yogurt helps to balance out the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn leads to fresher breath and whiter teeth. Just make sure you pick a brand that isn’t loaded with extra sugar or aspartame.