What Is Bad Breath, Anyway?

Bad Breath


1. Brush and Floss Your Goddamn Teeth
We hope this one’s a given: Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes per session. “When bacteria eat the food you consume, they produce a sulfur byproduct,” Ricci says. “Sulfur has that rotten-egg smell, so cleaning your teeth and flossing removes that. I recommend using an electric toothbrush, like a Sonicare or an Oral B.”

2. Brush your tongue.
“Your tongue has lots of nooks and crannies in which bacteria can hide,” Ricci tells us — though we swear he’s never actually seen our tongue. Anyway, point is, after you brush your teeth, use your toothbrush on your tongue. You can also purchase tongue cleaners, which are specifically designed for more effective scrubbing.

3. Eat good-breath foods and supplements.
Eating fruits and vegetables, drinking green tea, and using products that contain the calorie-free sweetener xylitol can also help. “Xylitol actually inhibits bacterial growth so it can be very effective in treating halitosis,” Ricci explains. There’s one potential problem, however. “A small percentage of people have gastric issues when using xylitol.” If you’re one of those people, try chlorophyll; it’s a natural supplement usually derived from alfalfa leaves.

4. Don’t rely on breath fresheners.
Popping something minty might give you room to breathe with confidence for about 10 minutes. But once that flavor wears off, you’ll go back to being your stinky self. Sugar-free gum is better than mints, but nothing can really replace brushing your teeth.