13 Ways To Keep Your Breath Smelling Fresh Every Day

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Woman brushing her teeth

You’re on a date with a guy who is intelligent, entertaining, and well-mannered. You’ve been chatting with him over your delicious garlic pasta dinner for what feels like ages, and it’s been nothing short of an amazing night.

He drops you off at home and you’re getting ready to seal the deal with a kiss. As you get closer to him, his nose wrinkles. He suddenly backs away and says that he wants to see you again. As you get back to your living room, you smell your breath... and it reeks to high heaven! Yeah, you probably aren’t going to see him again.

It’s a nightmare scenario that happens more often than you think. However, there are ways to prevent bad breath, and not just temporarily.

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What causes bad breath?

Most bad breath starts in your mouth and can be caused by a multitude of factors. Although it's never fun, most of the time it's a harmless result of something totally natural.

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be an embarrassing dilemma caused by certain foods, health conditions, and bad habits.

Some causes of bad breath include:

  • Eating certain foods or bacteria left behind from food particles
  • Smoking tobacco products, which can also cause gum diseases
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dry mouth or lack of saliva production
  • Some medications that indirectly cause dry mouth or directly result in the release of chemicals that cause bad breath
  • Infections in your mouth, like those from oral surgery, tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores
  • Other mouth, nose, and throat conditions, like infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat.
  • Other causes, like diseases, metabolic disorders, and chronic reflux of stomach acids

How To Make Your Breath Smell Good

1. Practice decent oral hygiene.

There’s a phrase that definitely applies to your breath here: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s always true when it comes to your breath and teeth.

Brushing and flossing your teeth, use mouthwash, and invest in tongue scrapers. This can and will help you make your breath smell good long-term.

2. Make regular visits to the dentist.

This cannot be stressed enough: make regular visits to the dentist's office. A good rule of thumb is to visit the dentist twice a year, but this should be adjusted based on your needs.

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3. Avoid sugary foods.

Sugar helps bacteria breed in your mouth, and bacteria is what causes bad breath. If you remove foods like candy from your diet, you can keep yourself from getting stinky breath when you’re older.

4. Don’t smoke and avoid eating pungent foods.

The easiest remedy for making your breath smell good, whether it's on a date or even on a daily basis, is to avoid the habits that cause breath to stink in the first place. So, rather than noshing on garlic rolls, try to eat a fresh salad instead.

And smoking? Yeah, don’t do that either.

5. Suck on a citrus slice.

Oranges, lemons, and limes all have breath-freshening abilities. If you just ate something foul, just nibble on a slice of lemon or other related citrus fruits.

6. Eat a little parsley.

You didn’t think that little sprig of parsley was just for aesthetics, did you? Well, okay, maybe it is, but parsley has been shown to freshen breath, especially after eating something stinky.

7. Drink water.

Water isn’t just good for weight loss and clearing up your skin, it’s also an amazing tool to freshen your breath.

When you’re dehydrated, the heavy concentration of bacteria makes your breath stink. Water washes away that bacteria, keeps your mouth clean, and makes your breath smell better.

8. Drink a glass of water with baking soda.

Mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water can help fight bad breath. Baking soda can rebalance the level of acid in your mouth and aid in the fight against halitosis, so get that Arm & Hammer out!

9. Skip coffee and alcohol.

Alcohol and caffeine both act as double whammies when it comes to keeping your breath fresh as can be.

Both alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics, which, in turn, can cause dehydration, as well as make your mouth dry, which can then lead to bad breath. To make matters worse, both of these drinks also have pretty foul telltale scents.

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10. Eat crunchy veggies.

Your mom was right to tell you to eat more veggies! Along with being packed with vitamins, vegetables promote an alkaline environment in your mouth, which makes it harder for stinky bacteria to breed.

Crunchy vegetables produce saliva, which cleans that smelly bacteria from your mouth. If you pick crunchy veggies like celery, carrots, apples or pears, you get the added perk of having those vegetables clear out gunk from between your teeth.

11. Chew sugarless gum.

If you aren’t looking to change up your diet, there’s one classic standby you can always rely on: sugarless gum. Just grab a pack of your favorite sugarless gum and go to town.

12. Keep breath spray on hand.

Remember when you’d watch "Looney Tunes" and two characters would whip out spray right before they kissed? Back in the day, that was the easiest way to keep your breath smelling good.

It may be a retro way to handle things, but it works, even if only for the moment.

13. Drink green tea.

Seriously, is there anything green tea doesn’t improve? The bacteria that causes bad breath really tends to hate green tea’s antibacterial properties. By drinking a cup or two of the green stuff, you can neutralize bad breath.

14. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash.

A good friend of mine actually carries one of those small travel bottles of mouthwash with them when they feel like they’re going to get lucky. Mouthwash is great for reducing bad breath, especially if you have a tendency of getting foul breath in the morning.

15. Give probiotics a try.

People are worried about getting bad breath from the bad bacteria in their mouths, but it’s important to remember that there are also good bacteria that can help fight bad breath.

Eating foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt, can help make a huge difference in how your breath smells over time.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Naturally Whiten Your Teeth For A Brighter Smile

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others. Follow her on Twitter for more.