Good oral hygiene practices and visiting a dentist every six months can dramatically reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, unsightly plaque build-up and tonsil stone formation (tonsilloliths). In addition, regularly brushing teeth and using a non-alcoholic mouthwash to prevent oral anaerobic bacteria build-up in between dentist visits will help keep breath consistently smelling fresh and tasting clean.
Brushing one’s teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before going to bed, effectively removes bacteria that can rapidly accumulate on teeth. Unless good oral hygiene practices are followed, this bacteria will harden into a destructive biofilm called plaque that contributes to chronic bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. This biofilm is composed of millions of bacteria directly responsible for chronic and embarrassing bad breath.
Xylitol for Bad Breath
Used as an FDA-approved artificial sweetener by many food manufacturing companies, xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is also an effective inhibitor of tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease. Unlike regular sugar that can accelerate the development of dental caries, gingivitis and halitosis, xylitol's unique chemical composition prevents bacteria growth encouraged by sugary foods and beverages. In addition, xylitol also inhibits plaque development, promotes teeth remineralization and reduces acidity levels in the mouth.
Xylitol-containing breath mints or chewing gum can help eliminate bad breath by increasing saliva flow which washes away bacteria and makes their environment less hospitable. Halitosis is primarily attributed to dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia), a condition in which anaerobic bacteria flourish. Salivation increases when flavors like xylitol stimulate salivary glands and creates a moist, oxygen-rich environment in which anaerobic bacteria (and their smelly gases) cannot survive.
Is Xylitol Safe for Diabetics?
Yes. As a low-calorie sweetener derived from carbohydrates in certain fruits and plants xylitol is not absorbed as quickly as sugar because metabolization of xylitol occurs independently of insulin. This means it will increase blood glucose levels in diabetics only slowly and only half as much as sugar or other common carbohydrates. It is commonly used by people with type 2 diabetes.
10 More Remedies for Bad Breath
- In addition to basic oral hygiene, include electric toothbrushes and oral irrigation devices in your daily teeth cleaning practices to remove as much mouth debris as possible.
- Bacteria accumulating in tongue fissures are a cause of bad breath—so brush your tongue!
- Use mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. (This one is a little counter-intuitive, however, the reason to use a non-alcohol based mouthwash is because alcohol is a known desiccant that can actually dehydrate your mouth—and a dry mouth can promote bacteria growth.)
- If you smoke, try to stop! Or at the very least, cut back on smoking. It contributes to chronic dry mouth and bad breath.
- Drinking water is a great way to hydrate your mouth, kill bacteria that cannot survive in moist, oxygenated environments and remove mouth debris.
- To stimulate saliva flow, eat citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapes or use XyliMelts.
- Chew cardamom, spearmint, fresh parsley or cloves instead of sugary gum to freshen your breath.
- Gargle with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide mixed with three teaspoons of water. Hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen molecules that kills bacteria and reduces the intensity of odorous gases.
- Gargling with salt water can help remove dead or loose oral tissues that is a major food source for bad breath bacteria.
- Cavities, tonsil stones or gum infections can cause bad breath. If you've tried various bad breath treatments and nothing works, make an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth and gums thoroughly checked.