Breathe Easy: Expert Tips and Tricks for Fresh Breath All Day

Maintaining fresh breath is an important indicator of overall health. There are multiple causes of bad breath.  There are also bad breath remedies and cures.

What Causes Bad Breath? Unveiling the Culprits

There are multiple reasons for bad breath. To know how to alleviate it, you must first understand its source. Some common sources include:

  • Poor oral hygiene- leading to odor releasing bacteria (plaque remover for teeth)
  • Stomach / esophagus issues such as acid reflux
  • Sinus problems
  • Tonsil problems
  • Eating certain types of food

Although the main cause of bad breath is because of bacteria, it is important to know the source. The source of bad breath could come from the mouth, the back of the mouth, below the back of the mouth, and above the back of the mouth.

Myths vs. Facts: Debunking Bad Breath Misconceptions

A big misconception about bad breath is people believe the only source of bad breath is from the mouth. People use antibacterial mouthwash or toothpastes designed for bad breath and believe it will be a bad breath cure.

Brushing and Flossing: Your First Line of Defense

If you suffer from bad breath, the first line of defense is good old flossing and brushing. Brushing every other day and flossing once in a while will not do the job. Bad breath is a result of odor-producing bacteria that take a long time to appear in the mouth and will not happen simply because you missed one day of brushing or flossing. Odor-producing bacteria to appear in the mouth requires multiple other factors. One factor is that bacteria build on one another. The best explanation I can give is to look at any city around the world. 

Before a big population can inhabit a location, it needs drinking water, building, food, etc. Same with bacteria. They need other bacteria for their waste products first. The bad bacteria will colonize the predecessor’s homes. The bad bacteria do not have a way of attaching to teeth. Plaque already present in the mouth from lack of hygiene allows the new odor-causing bacteria to attach and overtake the previous bacteria.

As bacteria colonize, they can cause damage to gums and bone below, leading them deeper into the gums. These bacteria are untouchable with routine oral care to include antibacterial mouthwashes, toothpastes, and even flossing. The bacteria need to be removed by your dentist and if not, the bad breath will be permanent until you do.

The Role of Diet in Maintaining Fresh Breath

Certain types of foods can contribute to bad breath. Bad breath can come from the stomach or the esophagus. Certain types of food can result in improper digestion or even acid reflux. This can lead to odor-causing substances to flow up towards the mouth leading to bad breath. A proper and balanced diet can alleviate bad breath. Not everyone will have the same outcome with certain foods. It is up to you to make a link between the foods eaten that result in bad breath. As an example, tomatoes often give people heartburn. I personally cannot eat a hot dog. If I do, I will have heartburn for several days. Heartburn is caused by improper stomach acids. See your nutritionist or physician to alleviate these issues.

Choosing the Right Mouthwash: Antibacterial Options and More

For years now, I have been comparing different types of mouthwashes and looking at their benefits. What I found is that those who use mouthwashes tend to suffer more from gum disease and have more severe bad breath. The question is what came first– the mouthwash or lack of proper hygiene. I do not know if the chronic use of the mouthwash leads to bad breath OR people are not flossing and brushing properly and relying on the mouthwash for their hygiene. For about 6 months now, I have run a test of different mouthwashes. I have not found one antibacterial mouthwash or odor-reducing one that provides a reduction in plaque in the mouth. The test is simple. We stain patients’ plaque and then administer a mouthwash and have the patient rinse twice, 30 seconds each followed by a re-stain. In another test, we stain plaque then have the patient rinse twice, 30 seconds each, then wait 30 minutes and then re-stain the plaque. We have not noticed a difference in the amount of plaque in the mouth. Mouthwashes with alcohol are great at killing plaque floating in the mouth, but they are ineffective on plaque attached to the teeth as well as ones deep inside the gums. My recommendation with mouthwashes is that they are a good addition to flossing and brushing but not a replacement.

A famous mouthwash claims to “destroy” plaque five times more than flossing. Considering flossing does not “destroy” plaque and only scrubs it away, I would say five times nothing is nothing. Plaque needs to be scrubbed away.

Innovative Plaque Removal Tools

There are all sorts of new tools on the market for plaque removal. However, I have not found one that is as effective as a traditional toothbrush and floss. Now, there are a variety of different brushes on the market. The one that is the most effective is the one used more frequently and properly. Many like electric toothbrushes because they have a timer signaling when an appropriate amount of time is used. Some like the vibrating, some like the circular. It is up to your personal preference. Read the instructions on the product’s use. 

I do not have any problems with electric toothbrushes. I do not believe they are more effective than a regular handheld toothbrush. The importance is how frequently, the amount of time, and if they are used properly that make a difference. As far as floss, I do not believe there is a replacement for it. There are numerous floss on the market. Use the one you like the most. You can use anything in addition to flossing, but not replacement. The handheld floss picks, wedges, toothpicks, can be used in addition but not replacement.

Natural Remedies for Fresh Breath

Explore home remedies and natural solutions for bad breath. Although I have not evaluated any of the mentioned remedies, I have researched them online.

  • There is a consensus that hydrating with water or rinsing with salt water is effective.
  • Chewing gum will induce saliva production that helps wash away odor-producing bacteria. However, chronic gum chewing can lead to premature wear of teeth and is not recommended frequently. Do you remember the ad: “6 out of 7 dentists recommend chewing sugarless gums”?  That ad’s focus is chewing gum with sugar in it, not over chewing gum at all.
  • Use of Tea tree oil during brushing.
  • Eating non processed fruits and vegetables.
  • It is documented that chewing on cloves fights bacteria that cause decay and bad breath.

I have not researched the third, fourth or fifth items above for myself. I would say that eating high fiber, non processed, and low carb foods should have odor-reducing benefits.

When to Seek Professional Help

You should seek professional help when bad breath persists. It can be hard to know which doctor to visit first. Although odors are released through the mouth, sometimes they have different origins. Visit your dentist first to rule out dental problems. If the source of the odor is not from your mouth, seek your primary care physician to be properly referred to your GI doctor, ENT, or nutritionist.

Lifestyle Changes for Lasting Fresh Breath

We can all make changes to have lasting fresh breath. First, the source of the problem needs to be identified and resolved. The rest sounds like a broken record, but eat quality foods, exercise, and make sure to practice good oral hygiene which involves brushing in the morning and after your last meal or before bedtime flossing then brushing. In case of severe gum disease, you may be told to brush and then floss.

Regular Dental Check-Ups: A Crucial Step

Even with the best oral hygiene, our body can be missing proper enzymes that help reduce plaque and calculus buildup. Sometimes those with the best of oral hygiene can still struggle with gum disease and cavities. To ensure you take care of these situations before they get out of hand, see your dentist twice a year unless told otherwise by them.


There are many sources of bad breath. To alleviate the issue, you must first find the source and eliminate it. See your dentist to locate the cause and see the proper doctor for it. In case of dental-caused bad breath, see your dentist routinely and practice good oral healthcare. All supplemental products are welcomed as long as they are in addition to flossing and brushing, and not a replacement.