A man checks his breath against the palm of his hand.

How to get rid of bad breath quickly

Bad breath is a common dental problem that often leaves people feeling self-conscious. It can have a huge impact on a person’s social and professional confidence, which could lead to isolation, missing out on opportunities and ultimately not enjoying themselves as much as they could.[1] So what should you do if you notice you have bad breath?

How to get rid of bad breath fast

Though bad breath can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem, such as an abscessed tooth, it’s usually a relatively simple issue to resolve. If your bad breath isn’t accompanied by any other symptoms, such as pain, inflammation or bleeding, it’s likely not a big problem. However, if you are concerned about your bad breath, ask your dentist for advice on what to do.

Most of the time, bad breath is caused by remnants of food particles, sometimes as a result of an overly dry mouth. This leads to the buildup of bacteria, which is what causes the smell.[1] When you’re at home on your own, you can just use a floss pick to get the bits of food out, but what if you’re in a rush? And what do you do when you’re about to go into a big meeting, an interview or a date? 

Try something minty

Admittedly, eating a mint isn’t going to solve the issue of having bad breath in the first place, but it can help to mask the smell and hide the problem in a pinch. Minty breath sprays can be discreet – particularly in a professional setting where chewing or eating might not be appropriate. Alternatively, minty chewing gums can provide longer lasting freshness that might be more suitable if you’re in a long meeting. 

Drink a glass of water

Drinking a glass of water can help in two ways. Firstly, water will lubricate a dry mouth and help you to feel less nervous or self-conscious – with the added bonus of being hydrating. Secondly, swilling water around your mouth before swallowing it can help to dislodge those pesky bits of food that have been causing your bad breath. This can ease the symptoms as well as helping to reduce the likelihood of them returning soon.[1] 

The biggest benefit of this option is that it’s not an unusual thing for anybody to do, regardless of the setting. In a long meeting? Just bring a bottle of water with you and it’s unlikely anybody will question it. 

Use mouthwash

Mouthwash, like water, can help to get rid of the bits of food and bacteria that are causing your bad breath. Although you probably wouldn’t start sipping and gargling mouthwash during a date, it’s easy enough to have a quick swill and spit in the bathroom. Many brands of mouthwash sell smaller, travel sized bottles that are perfect for keeping in a pocket or bag for such an occasion. 

The added benefit of using mouthwash – as well as the minty smell – is the overall effect on your dental hygiene. Mouthwash can actually help to end your bad breath problems by killing some of the bacteria in your mouth. Plus, if you use a mouthwash with fluoride, for example, you’ll get extra dental health benefits at the same time.[2]

Does a tongue scraper help bad breath?

If you’re looking for a longer term solution to your bad breath problem, then consider a change to your dental hygiene routine. One area of the mouth that is often neglected when brushing is the tongue. Unfortunately, this means it can become a haven for bacteria, which can lead to bad breath. 

Using a tongue scraper such as the Orabrush tongue cleaner is an excellent way to combat this. Gently scraping your tongue once a day after brushing will remove bacteria and help to stop bad breath from developing. Similar effects can be achieved using a spoon, but a purpose-built tongue scraper is always best when it comes to maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. 


[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bad-breath/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-teeth-and-gums/how-to-keep-your-teeth-clean/

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