Floss after brushing at least once per day. While the bristles of your toothbrush will remove some of the food and plaque from between your teeth, only floss can remove the deepest materials. Food materials and plaque left between the teeth for long periods of time can accelerate tooth decay, and lead to the buildup of tartar, a hard substance which is much more difficult to remove. Tartar also causes bad breath and gum recession.
Use gentle strokes to brush the entire top surface of your tongue, being careful not to stick the brush too far back into your throat, which can cause gagging. Plaque can also build up on your tongue. Not only can this lead to bad mouth odor, but it can lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
4. Use a fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride is a nutrient which strengthens teeth, slowing and reversing tooth decay. Choosing a toothpaste with fluoride will ensure that you get the most out of each tooth brushing. While fluoride has come under scrutiny by those worried about how it impacts other areas of health, this substance remains a mainstay in oral health. This is because fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
If you live in the United States, look for toothpastes marked ADA Accepted. These toothpastes have been evaluated by the American Dental Association, and they all contain fluoride.
5. Drink more water
When you are dehydrated, your glands produce less saliva. When your mouth is dry, dead cells, food particles and other debris can accumulate, encouraging the growth of bacteria which can cause bad breath. Remaining hydrated will help ensure that your glands produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.
- For an adult in normal health, drinking eight 8-oz. cups (1.9 liters) of water per day is recommended.
- Eating an apple or raw celery, chewing on sugar-free gum, or sucking on sugar-free candy will stimulate the salivary glands and encourage a cleaner, more moistened mouth.
6. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables are naturally abrasive, helping to remove plaque and debris from your teeth as you chew. Fruits and vegetables which contain a lot of vitamin C, such as oranges, broccoli, and bell peppers, can also help reduce the presence of bacteria in the mouth.
7. Limit sugary and acidic foods
Sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.
8. Use an antiseptic mouthwash
Food particles and the bacteria that feed on them can often become trapped in the narrow gaps between teeth. Swishing an antibacterial mouthwash allows you to clean these harder to reach areas, potentially reducing bad breath. Many varieties are available, but be sure to pick a variety labeled “antiseptic” or “antibacterial.” These mouthwashes will help kill bacteria in your mouth which may be causing bad breath. Be sure to follow any instructions on the label.
9. See your dentist at least twice a year
Your dentist will be able to recommend and explain products and practices to fit your specific needs. Having your teeth regularly cleaned by dental professionals will also help remove any deep-set food particles which your daily brushing and flossing regime might fail to remove. For severe or hard-to-remove staining, your dentist may recommend professional teeth whitening