Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be as embarrassing for the person who has it as it is unpleasant for those who can smell. The worst part is that often, the person who has it doesn’t even know it. Most of us are aware that if we eat garlicky foods or smoke, we’re going to have bad breath for a little while after that. But what if it’s a persistent problem?
One way to combat bad breath is by practicing good oral hygiene. Most of us grab a toothbrush when we think we might have bad breath. Not everyone realizes that flossing is another way to get rid of halitosis. Brushing can get rid of the bacteria and particles of food that are on the outside surfaces of teeth, getting rid of part of what may be causing unpleasant mouth odor. Unfortunately, your toothbrush can’t get to the residue between teeth. This is where floss comes in handy.
One thing that can cause breath to smell bad is a dry mouth, because a lack of saliva can cause increased buildup of plaque. Drinking alcohol, sleeping (during which saliva is not produced,) being hungry, being thirsty, and dieting are all things that can make bad breath worse. It is especially important to floss at these times.
In addition to helping to fight bad breath, flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease, tooth decay, gum disease, and gingivitis. It is also thought that flossing with a fresh tasting dental floss can make dieters less likely to eat between meals.
For best results, make sure that you are flossing your teeth effectively. Start by winding the floss around your fingers. Then insert the floss between the two teeth you are working on. Move the floss back and forth and up and down between the teeth. Carefully remove the floss. Make sure to use a new section of floss for each space between teeth. If you don’t like the sensation of wrapping the floss around your fingers, a flosser can be used instead.
For optimal dental health, brushing the teeth, tongue, and roof of the mouth are also an important part of oral care. Using mouthwash and a natural breath spray also can help with bad breath, but this should be done as well as brushing and flossing, not instead of it.