Recent Harvard studies show that when someone offers you a mint, it’s not to be nice but rather a passive way to hint that yo breath stanks. Okay, so that’s not actually a true study, however, it should be because I am a subtle hint mint peddler. Bad breath is unpleasant, unattractive, and it’s killing your social skills. However, all is not lost, with these three simple tricks, you could totally change the overall health of your mouth with just a little effort. Of course, the utmost basic steps for a healthy mouth are brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and getting a cleaning every six months.
So what causes bad breath? Bad breath is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. According to WebMD, “If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue.” Which is why brushing, flossing, and cleanings are so important. However, even with the basics, bad breath can still occur. So here are my three tips for better breath and an overall healthier mouth…
If you haven’t heard of oil pulling you’ve been missing out! Oil pulling is the process of swishing oil around to detox your mouth. What are the benefits? Coconut oil is said to detoxify by pulling out impurities and bacteria that over time build up in the mouth. It eliminates bad breath bacteria, whitens teeth, reduces inflammation, soothes sore throats, prevents cavities, heals dry cracked lips, strengthens gums, and more. It’s recommended to do in the morning before even brushing your teeth but occasionally I skip this when I’m in a rush. So, if you do it mid-day or before bed, that’s okay too. I like to oil pull while I’m in the shower or getting ready. Plus it’s easy. You take a tablespoon amount of extra virgin coconut oil, swirl it around your mouth for 10-15 minutes, spit it out (in the garbage), brush teeth as normal. You can do this 3-5 times a week, I typically do more than that but I’m OBSESSED with having good oral hygiene. So oil pull to your heart’s content. This is the coconut oil I use, Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Alcohol-Free Mouth Wash
No, Listerine is not alcohol-free. Why does that matter? Well, recent studies in the medical field have revealed that mouthwash containing alcohol can actually cause bad breath. Alcohol is a drying agent which means even a small amount can dry out your mouth making it ineffective at flushing out bacteria. Do you brush your teeth before bed and wake up in the morning to find that you have “morning breath?” You didn’t eat anything and your teeth are clean so how is this possible? Sleeping with your mouth open or in a room without proper humidity causes dry mouth which then leads to airborne bacteria that multiplies and causes a bad case of funky breath. Which is why you can find my humidifier and essential oil diffuser all the way up every night. However, I live in a pre-war apartment in NYC with an old heating system so I still have dry mouth in the AM every now and then. Most of the mouthwash products you buy at the local drugstore contain alcohol and even other harsh chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is used in ACT mouthwash to create a foaming effect similar to toothpaste. They do this so that you associate the foam to toothpaste and think, “It must be working.” However, this too is actually causing you to have dry mouth and has been known to cause microscopic damage to the lining of oral tissue, aka canker sores. My favorite mouthwash is TheraBreath Fresh Breath Dentist Formulated Oral Rinse. This stuff works and there’s absolutely no burning sensation like the classic Listerine flavors. Most mainstream drugstores now sell TheraBreath but if you can’t find it there’s always Amazon.
Is this reaaaaal extra? Yes, but it works! Do yourself a favor and go to the closest mirror and look at your tongue right now. What color is it? Is it white, grey, or even a little yellowish? It’s covered with, you guessed it, bacteria! Yuck. Your tongue should be a pale pink or light reddish hue. Your dentist will tell you to brush your tongue but do yourself a favor and just TRY a tongue scraper. I’ve been tongue scrapping for years and I will never forget my first time seeing layers of a white film come off my tongue. The appearance of a white coating is caused by debris, bacteria and dead cells getting lodged between the enlarged and sometimes inflamed papillae, fingerlike projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue. After a few scrapes (think long brush strokes from the back to the front, rinse clean, repeat) your tongue will be unrecognizable, in a good way. I got mine from whole foods but a great option is Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, Stainless Steel. Stainless steel works best and is preferred over plastic and copper versions.
Do you already practice some of these tips? Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you have any other great tips please share! I love learning and trying new things. That’s all for now!