One question we are often asked is how do you prevent or get rid of bad breath that is caused by eating strong smelling or spicy foods?
Firstly we need to understand why spicy foods can cause odourous breath. Foods like onion, garlic and spices can stick to the tongue and as we swallow them the chemicals from these strong smelling foods enter our bloodstream and we breathe them out through our lungs and sweat them out from our pores.
Some people suggest eating dairy foods such as sour cream or drinking milk to get rid of the taste and smell but personally I think it’s great to use dairy to use as a cooling effect for spicy foods but for me, dairy makes bad breath worse (though this might not be the case for everyone). So what do you do?
Spicy and odourous foods are fine if you aren’t seeing anyone the same evening or next day but we often are and although we won’t be able to smell our own breath ourselves, others can.
What foods tend to be the culprits for causing smelly breath?
Dairy, garlic, onion, coffee, citrus foods and canned tuna are the worst culprits for smelly breath. We don’t want to stop eating these foods but need to understand how to get rid of the smelly breath that comes afterwards.
What can you do to prevent bad breath after eating certain foods?
It’s been suggested that you should brush and floss your teeth straight after eating these strong smelling and tasting foods. Firstly, brushing your teeth after acidic or spicy foods is not recommended. You won’t be carrying a toothbrush around with you anyway and also, the acid that is in the acidic and spicy foods will destroy the enamel on your teeth if you brush too soon after eating them.
Parsley is a natural breath freshener and can mask or neutralise bad breath caused by these foods. Chewing it after or eating with your meal has benefits.
We suggest drinking (preferably) water during and particularly after the meal to rinse the spices from your mouth and tongue. If you are out on a date, firstly if both of you have eaten spicy foods, that’s fine! If its only you, drink water and rinse and slosh the water round in your mouth if you can before you swallow (without making it obvious). Then you could keep a tongue scraper in your pocket or a mini bottle of the ProFresh mouthwash. Head to the bathroom and scrape your tongue and the sides of the inside of your cheeks and spray your tongue, the sides of your mouth and the back of your mouth with ProFresh. Don’t brush your teeth for at least half an hour after eating spicy or acidic foods.
If you can still smell or taste the spices the next morning, do the full ProFresh routine (rinse, scrape, rinse and brush teeth), keep sipping water and that should keep the worse of the food breath at bay.
Bad Breath isn’t life or death so why do so many people worry if they have it?
There are several reasons for worrying about bad breath.
Social and Personal
Bad breath can be socially embarrassing as sufferers may fear that others can smell their unpleasant breath. This can lead to self-consciousness, low self-esteem and anxiety in social situations. People don’t want to be judged by their breath and may avoid socialising often or stop altogether which is far from ideal.
Naturally following on from social and personal – if a person feels self-conscious of their breath, they may stop engaging in close conversations with friends, family or work colleagues. They may also avoid intimate conversations or situations in the fear that they put the other person off with their breath.
A person can be professional, look smart but if they have bad breath they will dread meetings, conferences, interviews, even dread getting in lifts. Anywhere where you have to stand close enough for someone else to smell your breath will cause anxiety for a bad breath sufferer. This could end up being detrimental to their career or at the very least won’t allow them to enjoy work.
Dental Health and Hygiene
Bad breath can be a symptom of poor oral hygiene or dental issues. It could be a symptom of tooth decay, gum disease or an infection. All these issues MUST be treated. Of course bad breath could be down to something as simple as not drinking enough water, eating smelly foods like onion or garlic but if bad breath is there without eating spicy foods, then you must seek advice from your Dentist.
Systemic Health Issues
Bad breath cause also be a symptom of other issues going on in the body for example, respiratory infections, digestive disorders and chronic illness.
Bad breath is often overlooked as a cosmetic issue and that is why many oral care products are classed as cosmetics but this is wrong. Most of the time bad breath is caused by a minor issue but don’t ignore it, your breath is telling you something.
How can you help yourself?
Please have regular dental check ups and hygienist appointments and in-between these appointments ensure that you are doing your bit at home – brushing at least twice a day, flossing, tongue scraping and using an effective mouthwash. Drink plenty of water and if you think you are susceptible to bad breath, then avoid spicy foods and alcohol (which dries the mouth out) and visit your dental clinic.
Flossing is now even easier!
Do you floss every day? This is usually one of the first questions that Dentists ask when you visit them. I have always found interdental brushes to be very effective. One brand in particular has dominated our shelves and the price has always been quite high but now Wisdom have launched their new range of Wisdom Proflex Interdental Brushes and at only £1.95 for 5 and £5.85 for 25 they are less expensive but very good quality. We have them in every brush size and small and large packs.
Wisdom Pro Flex Interdental Brushes have a unique flexible handle designed to reduce the potential of wire breakage, giving longer lasting performance. The curved shape of the handle helps to improve access to difficult to reach areas at the back of the mouth.
- Removes plaque and food particles
- Prevents gum disease
- Prevents cavities
- Promotes fresh breath
- Reduces the risk of tooth decay
- Preserves tooth structure
Rinse your Wisdom Brush in ProFresh Mouthwash between flossing each tooth. It not only rinses and cleans the brush but enbles ProFresh to get between the gaps in your teeth.
Can other people smell my bad breath?
Yes, chances are, if you can taste your bad breath, then other people can often smell your bad breath too, especially if it is strong or persistent.
The signs that someone else can smell your breath are they may touch their nose, stand back or turn their head away from you, offer you mints or gum. Some people may even be bold enough to tell you that you have bad breath!
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by a variety of reasons including:
Poor oral hygiene,
Medical conditions, or medications.
When you have bad breath, it’s usually due to the release of foul-smelling sulphur compounds by bacteria in your mouth. Some bad breath sufferers turn to mints or minty mouthwash but sadly that’s not the answer.
ProFresh helps get rid of your bad breath and gives you the confidence to get up close.
Not only can it benefit you socially and help you in other things such as your careers and relationships, but it also has many more practical benefits.
Your teeth have such an important role to play in your life. They help you chew and digest food, they help you to talk and speak clearly and they also give your face its shape.
Because of this, it only makes sense to give your oral health the best care possible.
National Smile Month is a chance to take a look at oral health, learn more about why a healthy smile is so important and share tips on how to improve and maintain it.
The three key messages are the bread and butter principles for developing great oral health:
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
We at ProFresh would like to add another point about oral care. We feel that tongue cleaning is just as important as brushing your teeth. Why? Mucus and food debris can get stuck on the tongue and this provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. So get scraping! Find out more about tongue cleaning here.
These messages provide a good starting point for us but there’s so much more we can learn.
Let’s be honest, maintaining a general level of good oral health is a fairly simple task. It’s not time consuming or costly, yet many people still choose to ignore the most basic day-to-day hygiene routines.
A staggering number of people brush for less than two minutes, our diet as a nation has become over-reliant on added sugars while millions of people haven’t seen a dentist in the last two years.
The consequences of these over a long period of time, can lead to unnecessary, invasive and expensive treatment. There are direct oral health problems that can arise such as gum disease and tooth decay while the repercussions of poor oral health go further than our mouth.
An increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia, complications during pregnancy and male sexual health problems are just a few of the likely outcomes of not looking after our teeth.
Visit our Oral Health and Wellbeing page to learn more about the links between oral health and general health.
So there we have it. The benefits of developing and maintaining a healthy mouth are clear for all of us to see, as are the dangers of an unhealthy mouth. Following the basic rules and adopting a sensible daily routine should be high on all our agendas. By using National Smile Month as an opportunity to prioritise our oral health, we will soon see what a remarkably positive difference it makes to many aspects of our lives.
Dr. Gary Herskovits a Dentist in New York has said that what you drink has a huge influence on your breath. Here’s what he had to say;
Alcohol dries your mouth out which in turn allows more bacteria to form and to make your breath smell bad. Some alcoholic drinks have a strong smell which can linger in your mouth making the mouth odour smell even worse.
Alcohol – If it’s a social occasion and you can’t or don’t want to avoid a drink, then how about drinking a glass of water in-between your alcoholic drinks. This will stop your mouth drying out. Also carry a bottle of the ProFresh Quick Spray in your pocket or your handbag, this will kill those bacteria that cause bad breath.
Sugary drinks like fizzy drinks and energy drinks can also cause halitosis. Sugar not only causes tooth decay but it helps feed the bad breath bacteria in your mouth. Cutting down on sugary drinks will help your breath smell fresher.
If it’s squash you like drinking, simply water the juice down if you don’t want to cut it out completely. Even fruit juices you can add water to. Why not limit fizzy drinks to the weekend and when you do drink them drink water too to wash away the excess sugar. It’s best to cut sugary drinks out totally but we appreciate it’s not always easy.
Coffee can affect your breath in two ways. Firstly the caffeine dries your mouth out, which allows the bacteria to fester. Coffee also has a strong pungent smell which lingers in your mouth so combined with the drying effects, coffee isn’t the best thing to drink if you want sweet smelling breath. Don’t forget coffee (and tea!) stains your teeth too.
We always associate coffee breath with teachers! Remember at school after break or lunchtime the teachers would come back into the classroom with coffee breath! They needed the caffeine fix to get them through the rest of the day with those pesky kids! Which is worse – white coffee or black coffee? To make white coffee you need to add milk which adds another bad breath causing drink so you are getting a double whammy. Drink it black and it’s stronger smelling and your teeth will get stained very quickly. The solution? Why not try a light coloured herbal tea? Some herbal teas contain ingredients that help keep your breath fresh. We know it’s hard to kick the caffeine but how badly do you want to get rid of your bad breath? Maybe just have one a day and use mouthwash and brush your teeth afterwards.
Milk and dairy products are known to cause foul smelling breath. It’s caused by the leftover lactose in your breath being broken down by bacteria. This causes an excess amount of hydrogen sulphide in your mouth. What does hydrogen sulphide smell like? Rotten eggs. Not good.
After eating or drinking dairy most of us will get a sticky feeling in the mouth, dairy makes your mouth feel very gloopy and it can also trigger an increase in mucus production in those of us that are sensitive to dairy. With the gloop in your mouth and the mucus dripping onto the back of your tongue, it’s not a great combination. Again, if you can’t or don’t want to avoid dairy, simply have a glass of water or use ProFresh Mouthwash after consuming.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that’s found in the stomach of 40% of the population.
This infection is most commonly associated with stomach ulcers but it has also been linked to bad breath. A study from the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth found that getting rid of helicobacter pylori with antibiotics reduced halitosis dramatically in the people who had the bacteria and bad breath.
Helicobacter pylori produces sulphur compounds and ammonia that alter the smell of the breath. The way that the smell ends up in the mouth and breath is through acid reflux. If the reflux contains this bacteria this changes the smell of the breath. If you are suffering from heartburn, a hoarse voice or are regurgitating your food then ask your doctor to test for this bacteria.
Testing for H. Pylori Infection
If your Doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by this bacteria they may recommend one of the following tests:
- Urea Breath Test – you will be given a special drink and then your breath is analysed to see whether or not you have H. Pylori.
- Stool Antigen Test – a stool sample is taken and tested for the bacteria.
- Blood Test – A sample of your blood is tested for antibodies to the H. Pylori bacteria but this test is less popular now as the Stool Antigen Test is more commonly used.
What Happens If I test Positive for H. Pylori?
The infection will need to be cleared and the ulcer healed. If your stomach ulcer is caused by this bacteria then you will be given a course of antibiotics. To see if you have a stomach ulcer, you may be referred for a gastroscopy to look inside your stomach directly.
For more information please contact your GP.
Anything that dehydrates the mouth will increase the risk of bad breath as saliva helps wash away odour-causing bacteria or cells. That’s why mouth odour is worse in the morning because saliva flow has been reduced during the night. Bad breath is more common in those who breathe through the mouth too.
Talking a lot is another cause of bad breath, it exposes the mouth to air, drying out saliva. Those in professions that are more vocal such as teachers, lawyers and people working in call centres are prone to suffering from bad mouth odour.
There is a simple solution, you can just sip water throughout the day to keep the mouth moist. This provides more favourable conditions that will help slow down the growth of bad bacteria.
Saliva flow is reduced as we get older and bad breath often gets worse with age. Your doctor can prescribe you sprays or lozenges to help promote saliva flow.
Keeping the mouth moist with sipping water and using a mouthwash like ProFresh that kills bad bacteria can help anyone suffering from bad breath. We would recommend those in the above mentioned professions keep the ProFresh Quick Spray to hand during the day as well as a bottle of water to sip from.
Christmas is a time for socialising and enjoying time with your family and friends, the last thing you want to do is worry about bad breath.
We are unable to smell our own breath so the only signs that you do have bad breath is when people turn away when you are talking to them, pull a funny face or touch their nose. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend or family member to confide in and ask about your breath, then you have to try and prevent it happening in the first place. Here is how you can do that.
- Make sure you have a good oral care routine. This involves: Use ProFresh Mouthwash, tongue scrape, ProFresh Mouthwash again, brush teeth for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Food can be trapped between teeth and will putrify if not removed. Always use interdental brushes or floss.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash like ProFresh. Most mouthwashes simply mask bad breath and some contain alcohol which dry the mouth out making bad breath worse.
- Tongue scraping – cleaning your tongue is so important. Bacteria collects on the tongue and and this needs to be removed each time you brush. Don’t scrape too hard however, as this will damage the surface of the tongue and make it sore.
- Avoiding strong smelling foods such as garlic, onion and spices. If you do eat these foods, if possible rinse your mouth with mouthwash and brush your teeth. Dairy in particular (look out for the cheeseboards!) isn’t great for the breath. Dairy products can increase mucus secretion in the sinuses, leading to post nasal drip (which gets stuck on the back of the tongue) and it’s possible that excessive dairy consumption can leave to low level infection (sinusitis). Sinus infection is another potential cause of halitosis.
- Alcohol. It’s hard to avoid over the festive period but if you can’t resist then try and drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. This not only keeps your mouth lubricated but it might help with the hangover too!
- Excessive consumption of coffee will have an effect on your breath, try and cut down as much as you can.
- You can have the most immaculate oral care routine but if you smoke then your breath, clothes, hands and hair will smell. So you know what to do!
- Make sure you visit the dentist and hygienist regularly. Gum disease and tooth decay has an affect on the breath.
- If you have ticked every box on this list and you are still suffering with bad breath then you need to visit your dentist and your doctor as there may be a medical problem you aren’t aware of.
If you want to enjoy the festive period with confidence in your breath then use ProFresh Mouthwash. It’s antibacterial and destroys 99% of volatile sulphur gases and compounds. For fresh breath on the go then use the ProFresh Quick Spray Bottle, this pocket sized bottle will enable you to get rid of the bacteria that causes bad breath wherever you are.
The latest oral care advice on brushing your teeth from the BDA (British Dental Association) suggests that rinsing your mouth after brushing washes away the fluoride from your toothpaste.
This suggests our ProFresh Oral Care Routine is PERFECT because our ProFresh Mouthwash works best BEFORE brushing your teeth. We have always recommended using ProFresh Mouthwash first and then brushing your teeth afterwards. This is what the BDA had to say:
“Don’t use mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth or it will wash away the fluoride in your toothpaste (even if the mouthwash has fluoride, your toothpaste’s fluoride is more effective at protecting teeth)”
Our ProFresh Routine
Step 1 – Rinse and Gargle for 10 seconds
Step 2 – Clean the tongue using a tongue scraper
Step 3 – Rinse and Gargle for 20 seconds
Step 4 – Brush your teeth for 2 minutes