We’ve all been there. Maybe we ate garlic the night before or had one too many slices of onion on our sandwich. Whatever the cause of our bad breath, we want a quick fix, hopefully before our reputation is tarnished.
One instinct is to reach for a breath mint. The problem is, the majority of breath mints are high in sugar. And while sugar does not actually hurt the teeth or gums directly, it does feed bacteria. This allows the harmful bacteria to breed, which is why dentists recommend sugar-free gum. Only with breath mints, there are not many sugar-free options available. And when sugar-free breath mints can be found, they do not have the ability to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath in the first place. The minty flavor and scent merely hides the bad breath, and only for a short period of time.
What about chewing sugar-free gum? Studies show that the chewing action actually increases the production of saliva, which can help to wash away food particles after eating. Another option is a disposable toothbrush that does not need water. Even a breath spray would be better, although it offers temporary relief.
These face-saving products can only go so far, though. The truth is if you find yourself using them frequently, chances are there is a more serious problem than what you ate for lunch. Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, may a sign of a bacterial infection or even gum disease. Either way, the sooner you seek treatment, the easier it will be to solve it. Caught in its early stages, gum disease is easily reversible. Once you are recovered, not only will your bad breath be a thing of the past, but your gums and teeth will be that much healthier.