• ALFIE Dentistry

Life Hacks for Fresh Breath


If you've been plagued by halitosis, commonly known as "bad breath", you don't actually have to live with it. You can take some small steps today to make sure you're not going to offend anyone with bad breath.


Well, we know there is the argument that if you're smelling yourself all the time, you might not actually notice if your breath stinks, so what should you do? One way to test it out is to grab a metal spoon, lick it, wait for it to dry, then take a whiff. Alternatively - after you floss - you can take a quick smell of the floss you used.


If either one of these options sounds like "yuck" to you - then read on for some tips to try - to maintain fresh breath.


1) Reduce the consumption of animal protein


So, the quick explanation for this is this: carbohydrates are the macronutrient that serve as the main source of energy for a person - they can be broken down fairly easily and utilized efficiently by the body. Proteins and Fats are the other macronutrients and in many fad diets, are the main constituents of energy. When fat is broken down for energy, it makes ketones as a byproduct and if there are excess amounts, can make your breath smell funny. When protein is broken down for energy, a byproduct is ammonia - which in excess, can also make your breath smell. So, word to the wise: if you just started a low-carb-high-protein diet and noticed your breath is smellier than usual, you may have just found the reason.


2) Hydrate often


Dry mouth can allow bad-breath-causing bacteria to thrive in your mouth. Continuously sip water throughout the day, and not only will this help 'wash away' those bad bacteria, but it can also help rinse away food particles that remain on your teeth - which can otherwise start decomposing (if you leave it in there for too long)!


3) Brush and floss after you've had your breakfast and morning coffee


We know, we know: some people don't want to be eating breakfast with the grossness of morning breath in the air. But, if you've ever caught a whiff of someone else's coffee breath, then you probably should know: yours doesn't smell any better. So it's highly recommended to brush after eating and drinking. Besides, toothpaste makes your orange juice taste funny!


4) Get screened for any dental and medical conditions and get treated


Periodontal disease stinks. No, literally. Plaque buildup inflames the gums - and the more progressed the disease is, the worse the breath will smell. The bacteria which also eats away at your gums, also contribute to the special smell. If you have periodontal disease, make sure you improve oral hygiene habits - and perhaps consider coming in more regularly for cleaning and check ups.


Other medical conditions and/or medications can contribute to bad breath. If you notice your breath starting to smell after starting a new prescription, don't hesitate to ask your medical doctor for advice or an alternative.


5) Use a tongue scraper


You brush your teeth and you floss between them. But did you know that bacteria can also hang out on your tongue? If you're not into using a tongue scraper (because yes, it does sound kind of gross), at the very least - remember to brush it when you're brushing your teeth.


6) Stay away from pungent foods if you have an important engagement


Coffee breath, onion breath, garlic breath...not exactly the most pleasant thing to smell off a person - so if you can't or don't want to avoid them at all times, then at least avoid them before an important meeting/date/get together.


7) Quit smoking


Besides the scent of cigarettes being fairly unpleasant for many people, smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease (which, as we've covered) can lead to bad breath. It can also dry out your mouth (so see above for point # 2).


8) Reduce or quit drinking alcohol


Alcohol consumption also contributes to dry mouth. (See point #2 regarding the bad-breath-bacteria)!


9) Try not to mouth breathe - use your nose instead


Dry mouth again!


If you're congested and cannot breathe through the nose, make sure to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest to get better. You may need medication or remedies to get you through, but the sooner you get better, the less you will need to breath through the mouth.


If you mouth breath as a habit, then retrain your brain to breath with your mouth closed. It might require a bit of mindfulness, but building habits can happen in as little as 21 days - so each time you catch yourself breathing through the mouth, just reset and try to breath through the nose.


10) Reduce consumption of sugar


Bacteria in your mouth love sugar! Unfortunately, if they thrive, then they can contribute to plaque buildup. And if you don't get rid of that, it hardens into tartar, which also smells. At this point in time, you'd get assistance from a professional hygienist - who would need to scrape the tartar off. If this sounds unpleasant, take good care of your existing teeth - brushing and flossing and tongue scraping daily - twice a day. Follow through with routine cleanings at the dental office, so these stinkers don't get a chance to propagate!

ALFIE Dentistry - Dr. Shirley Cheong, Dr. Kenny Chan & Associates

172 Willowdale Avenue.  Toronto, ON. M2N 4Y8. (416) 226-6688.  

6212 Yonge Street, Unit 4. Toronto, ON. M2M 3X4.  (416) 222-4762.

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