This Is the Easiest Way to Get Rid of Bad Breath, According to a Dentist

A spokesperson for the American Dental Association says this is the most common cause of bad breath that almost no one thinks of.

Remember that phase of the Covid-19 pandemic when suddenly bad breath had become a hot topic in the news? For better or worse, mask-wearing made it a little simpler to get a read on exactly how your breath comes off to others. With masks now off in most places, if you’re still occasionally aware that your breath may be offensive (and you’re not making any common tooth-brushing mistakes), don’t despair. While there are several causes of bad breath, from trivial to health-related, there’s a reliable solution for bad breath. And, says Dr. Ada S. Cooper, D.D.S., a national spokesperson for the American Dental Association, it’s often the last factor most people think of.

Pungent breath could be a sign you’re dehydrated, Dr. Cooper has explained.  “When your mouth becomes more dry, you have less saliva,” Dr. Cooper said. “And when you have less saliva, food and bacteria tend to sit in your mouth for a much longer period of time.”

One simple way of improving your breath? Drinking more water every day can create a noticeable difference. Water will also help flush less-than-pleasant tastes and odors out of your mouth and your system.

Also, be aware of what you’re consuming—not only because of drinking coffee, alcohol and smoking can add their own odor to your mouth, but because they’re all dehydrating for your body, too. These foods cause bad breath, too.

Of course, there are other reasons for bad breath, beyond a simple dry mouth or less-than-optimal hygiene. In addition to brushing in the morning, Dr. Cooper recommends always brushing your teeth at night after you’ve eaten for the last time, since trapped food and bacteria can produce an odor while you sleep. Nighttime brushing is also a great time to floss and even score that squeaky-clean feeling with a water flosser, which our senior health editor says delivers the greatest dental-health feeling she’s ever experienced. Read I Tried Amazon’s Top-Selling Water Flosser—Here Are My Honest Thoughts

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