6 Hacks For Your Awful Breath
“Hygiene,” “hydration,” or even just “hi!”
Do people run the other way as if you were a fire-breathing monster when you utter words that start with a breathy letter H? Ever strike up a conversation and have the chemistry fizzle out just as you move closer? Maybe it's not your pronunciation. Maybe you should think about the chemical reactions in your mouth.
The thing with guys who have bad breath, just like those who are stinking up the joint with B.O., is that they don't know they have it. Here's how you can detect if you have bad breath (hopefully before somebody else does) and extinguish it once and for all.
1| Get a tongue scraper—and use it
Notice a yellowish white layer coating the surface of your tongue after drinking a few beers? That's the byproduct of the (normal) protein breakdown of the mouth's flora. It includes the sulfur compound hydrogen sulfide, characterized by its rotten egg smell, and putrescine and cadaverine, which smell like how they sound, like rotting flesh. This layer is a visible sign that your breath already stinks.
The simple addition of a tongue scraper to your oral hygiene routine can make all the difference. Some toothbrushes are advertised as two-in-one devices, with a dotted surface on its back, but these are not big enough to be thorough. We recommend getting a separate scraper that's better fitted for the size of your grown-up tongue.
Here's how to use it: After brushing, leave a coat of toothpaste on the tongue. Then, drag the scraper over the surface of the tongue, back to front, and then over the sides of your mouth, before rinsing and swishing with mouthwash.
We can't emphasize it enough: Be gentle. Don't forget that your tongue is also home to your taste buds. You can cut your tongue or damage your precious, pleasure-giving taste buds if you rub too hard.
2| Stay hydrated
Morning breath stinks because your mouth is dry. The bacteria we're dealing with here are anaerobes. When there is not enough oxygen, they grow—and produce that nasty sulfuric waste.
Saliva, highly concentrated with oxygen, helps remove the unwanted waste. Don't skip your eight glasses to two liters of water a day, too. And have a glass of water after drinking diuretics like coffee or alcohol to rinse off these liquids and prevent the funk caused by a moisture deficit.
3| Check the label on your toothpaste
Avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, the ingredient that lathers up the toothpaste when you brush your teeth, as well as alcohol in your mouthwash. You're going to have to miss that burning, antiseptic “ice” or “mint” feeling, which actually dehydrates the tongue—and a dehydrated mouth is a stinky mouth.
4| Don't forget to floss
Do people still have a hard time getting close to you even after doing the hacks above? Maybe there's a rogue meat fiber stuck deep between your teeth or a crushed nut wedged in your gums, rotting and stinking up your mouth. Only this piece of string can reach the spots that the bristles of your toothbrush or the swish of your rinse cannot.
5| Change up your diet
You already know the usual suspects: garlic and onions, pungent and sulfur-packed as they are flavorful. But they’re not the only foods that make you reek. You know it by the sticky feeling you get in your mouth after. Sweets cause halitosis by feeding your mouth bacteria with sugar. Dairy makes you prone to acid reflux, which makes your breath smell like vomit. Low-carb, high-protein diets can make your body release funky-smelling ketones, too.
6| Don't ditch your dentist
Dentist appointments should be a twice-a-year habit anyway. The dentist will clean up your tartar, fill any cavities, and detect and prevent the onset of periodontal disease (or gum deterioration) as well as oral cancer, especially if you smoke.
If you’re still a fire-breathing monster after trying out these tips, it's now time to see a doctor. Chronic bad breath could be a sign of something serious. You should get it checked out.