Ask LH: How Can I Fix My Bad Breath?

Ask LH: How Can I Fix My Bad Breath?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently went on a week-log camping trip where I had mistakenly forgotten to pack my toothbrush and toothpaste. It has been a couple days since I returned to civilisation, but I can’t help noticing that despite the numerous amount of teeth brushing and mouth washing, the taste of bad breath is still lingering in my mouth. Is this normal? Thanks, Lingering Halitosis

Halitosis picture from Shutterstock

Dear LH (hey, cool initials),

The most common cause of bad breath is sulphur producing bacteria which accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and in-between your teeth. Have you tried flossing and brushing your tongue? It could just be that you’re not cleaning vigorously enough. Your first step should be to invest in a quality toothbrush designed for full mouth brushing, including the tongue.

While it’s not uncommon for odours to linger if left untreated, a smelly mouth that has been vigorously cleaned usually points towards some kind of halitosis-related ailment. The culprit could be tooth decay, gum disease or a sinus infection, to name a few examples.

Whatever’s causing your bad breath there are various solutions around that may help to cut down the smell. Some examples include nasal sprays, DIY cinnamon mouthwash, staying hydrated, drinking green tea, regularly chewing gum and avoiding foods with potent aromas. Give a few of these a shot and see if there’s any improvement.

As always, if readers have any suggestions of their own that could help LH out, let him know in the comments section below.


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  • Would love to know too 🙁
    I tend to hold flavours such as choc, garlic, alcohol but not mint
    My wife has a nose like a hound dog and often comments which is quite embarrassing and would love to hear what people do.
    I believe my weakness is too much coffee and no water.
    (as soon as I read this I drunk a glass of water)

  • The dentist. I hadn’t been to the dentist for well over a decade. After a good cleaning I asked the dentist why the back of my teeth felt so scratchy on my tongue. “Because that’s what your teeth feel like” was the reply. Decades of plaque build-up had resulted in stinky breath and uncannily smooth-feeling teeth. Now I go to the dentist every year.

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