When the holiday season hits, we tend to find ourselves eating and drinking more frequently than we typically do. We also seem to indulge in sweets and treats at a higher rate than during other periods of the year, leaving us less minty fresh than usual. All of this activity can increase the amount of odor-causing bacteria that we find in our mouths, which can lead to halitosis or as we more commonly refer to it: “bad breath”.
So, as you begin to enjoy all that the holidays have to offer, here are seven tips to help prevent and reduce bad breath during the most festive time of year and beyond.
Brush Your Teeth AND Your Tongue
You may think that we sound like a broken record, but brushing at least twice per day is still your number one option when it comes to preventing bad breath. Why? When you break your regular dental hygiene routine and abandon the actions that keep your mouth happy, bacteria start to accumulate on the bits of food that are left between and stuck in your teeth. These bacteria then release sulfur compounds that make your breath smell. Don’t forget to brush or scrape your tongue as well – this is an often-overlooked part of the oral hygiene routine. If you’re traveling this holiday season, keep your toothbrush handy so that it’s easily accessible between meals and you can readily brush after you eat. And remember to change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
Similarly to its counterpart, flossing at least once per day will help you to reduce bad breath as it aims to remove loose food particles and other debris from the harder to reach spaces within your mouth. It may not gain you cool points with your family, but keeping floss handy during the holidays will freshen up your mouth. And that’s all that really matters.
Mouthwash is a good complement to brushing and flossing, but should not be used in place of either. Mouthwash can be used to control bad breath, reduce cavities, and combat conditions like gingivitis, dry mouth, plaque buildup and receding gums.
Avoid Tobacco Products
If you’re looking for another reason to quit smoking, focus on the fact that it, along with chewing tobacco and other tobacco-related habits, contributes to bad breath. Tobacco dries out your mouth and can leave a lingering unpleasant taste that persists even after brushing.
There’s a reason we’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Not only does remaining hydrated prevent dry mouth, but drinking water also helps to loosen up and wash away food particles and other bacteria, the primary causes of bad breath. Further, liquids like coffee, soft drinks and alcohol can impact your oral hygiene and make your mouth drier.
Adjust Your Diet
Be mindful of what you’re putting into your body. It’s not just your gut, heart and waistline that you need to consider; you have to think about how what you consume impacts your mouth, too. Try to stay away from or limit foods like garlic and onions as well as sugary foods and sweet treats. Instead, try to focus on foods that are designed to protect your tooth enamel.
Come Visit Us!
Make sure that you’re regularly scheduling checkups. You’re your own frontline when it comes to daily dental hygiene tasks, but we’re here to perform the deep dive to help you monitor and maintain your oral health. And we’re just one contact click away!