Fixes For Bad Breath Other Than Mouthwash

If you have ever had bad breath, don't feel like you're in the minority. According to the experts at Southside Dental, roughly two-thirds of Americans are estimated to have bad breath. They go on to note that at least 40 million Americans have chronic bad breath — halitosis. 

According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, halitosis is persistent bad breath that a mint or mouthwash is typically unable to remedy. Halitosis can be caused by various factors, such as not brushing or flossing daily, which can increase bacteria in and around your teeth that result from the breakdown of food. Chronic bad breath can also be the result of certain medications, a dry mouth, or an infection within your mouth, among other causes. If you have repeatedly been using mouthwash to try to eliminate your bad breath and it isn't doing the trick, there is an option that may deliver more effective and longer-term results.

Alternative ways to address bad breath

The reason that mouthwash may not work for you if you have especially foul bad breath is because that bad breath may be due to the mouthwash itself. Functional medicine physician Frank Lipman M.D. tells Mind Body Green that similar to your gut having a microbiome home to trillions of microorganisms you need to keep in balance, you also have a microbiome within your mouth. Dr. Lipman adds that it is just as important to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth as it is in your gut because the two are connected. This is where issues with mouthwash can come in. Mouthwash contains ingredients that give you fresh breath by eliminating both the good and bad bacteria in your mouth. As a result, this can upset your oral microbiome in the long term, putting you at greater risk for super stinky breath. Dr. Lipman notes that more research is needed to confirm this cause and effect, but trusts the science that suggests how using mouthwash could throw your oral microbiome off balance.

While mouthwash is always good to grab for a quick fix after you scarf down a burger with onions or pasta with garlic, for a long-term solution to chronic bad breath, try to focus on eating high-fiber and probiotic foods to support your gut health. You may realize that making this adjustment is like a breath of fresh air (via Mind Body Green).