3 Things A Dentist Says Can Help You Prevent Bad Breath

An estimated 30% of people deal with some degree of sour breath, according to experts at Harvard Health Publishing. Bad breath, or halitosis, may be chronic for some. For others, however, a bout of bad breath may only come on sporadically. This is often due to outside factors such as smoking cigarettes, coffee consumption, or after eating something with a particularly strong aroma, like onions. 

Nobody wants to be unexpectedly called out on their bad breath. Thankfully, Health Digest spoke with Dr. Ghias Jabbour DDS — owner of Blanco Crossing Dental in San Antonio, Texas — who explained how we can detect when our own breath may have taken a sour turn. "We become kind of "nose blind" to our own bad breath so it can be challenging to self test," Dr. Jabbour states.

"One method would be to thoroughly wash and then dry the back of your hand or wrist then give it a quick lick," he suggests. "Give it a second to dry and then give it a quick whiff. You should be able to tell pretty quickly if you have bad breath." Afterward, Dr. Jabbour encourages individuals to practice proper hand hygiene. "Be sure to wash your hand again after this quick test," he states.

What to do and what to avoid

Dr. Jabbour's first tip is centered around what products are best to use to keep our breath smelling fresh and clean. "Use an ADA approved mouthwash," he advises. "It works to knock out bad breath because these mouthwashes contain chlorine dioxide which is extremely effective at killing the bacteria responsible for bad breath and temporarily keeping bad breath under control."

Dr. Jabbour's second tip is to steer clear of certain food items that can cause sour breath to stick around for longer. "Avoid pungent foods like garlic and onions — both of which contain sulfur and can give you bad breath for extended periods of time that is extremely difficult to get rid of," he cautions. 

Finally, Dr. Jabbour reveals the most critical thing individuals can do to help keep bad breath at bay. "The most important way to prevent bad breath is to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily," he says. "This can prevent bacteria buildup and potential gum disease — which can be a source of chronic bad breath."