Bad breath can really put a spoke in your wheel! Whether you’re on a date, at work or just going about your day, it can put a damper on your interactions with others and leave you feeling less than your best.
Proper dental care is essential to cultivating pleasant smelling breath, but sometimes we indulge in foods that delight the taste buds yet leave our breath smelling bad. Anyone who has indulged in a gluten-free onion bagel or roasted garlic atop a grass-fed steak knows what it’s like to indulge in something tasty only to be left with a lingering taste of the meal hours later.
Luckily, there are a few things you can take with you on-the-go to fight bad breath no matter where you’re at. To combat smelly situations, here are my five favorite bad breath-fighting ingredients convenient enough to carry with you to the office, a sporting event or even on vacation.
1. Dental floss
One of the biggest culprits of bad breath is food stuck between your teeth. While you should be flossing every time you brush, keeping a container of dental floss on hand can keep bad breath at bay. Peppermint oil-infused toothpicks are also a convenient way to make sure you don’t carry around a smelly piece of food between your teeth all day.
As crazy as it sounds, if you can carry a small container of fennel seeds with you in your purse or work bag, popping a few in your mouth after a garlicky lunch meeting can neutralize smells. Fresh mint works wonders too, but that can be a little difficult to store in your bag. That said, if you go out for drinks after dinner, consider one that includes fresh mint, like a mojito. Chewing on the fresh mint leaves added for a garnish can neutralize bad breath quickly.
When your mouth dries out, bad breath is soon to follow. Avoid bad breath caused by thirst by keeping a small water bottle in your bag. Add lemon essential oil to the bottle — just make sure it’s glass — to give yourself an extra boost of breath-freshening goodness. Citrus oils leave a great taste in your mouth but can break down plastic water bottles quickly.
Apples are one of my favorite foods. Organic apples are grown without pesticides and aren’t coated in toxic wax or cleaners. They also come with their own “packaging.” Wrap one up in a reusable napkin and take it with you for a snack to keep you satisfied and to remove bacteria that builds up on teeth throughout the day. Don’t like apples? Try raw carrots or other crunchy fresh foods to remove bacteria from your teeth and tongue.
5. Sugar-free gum with xylitol
As you chew gum, your salivary glands kick into high gear, removing some bacteria from your mouth and preventing teeth stains. However, the key is to make sure your gum doesn’t include sugar since bacteria love few things more than sugar. Choose gum with xylitol, an antibacterial component that can help preserve tooth health.
Other things you can do to fight bad breath
A healthy gut means fresh breath. Most of the time, bad breath is a sign of digestive problems, so be sure to get enough probiotics in your diet throughout the week. Fermented foods are your friend, as are organic dairy products like kefir and Greek yogurt.
Be sure to see your dentist regularly too. Bad breath might be a sign of tooth decay, which can lead to abscesses, jaw decay and even heart disease.
Bad breath can also be a result of certain diets. If, for instance, you’re on a ketogenic diet in which the body burns fat instead of carbs, your breath is going to suffer. When this fat breakdown happens, ketones are the result. These ketones create bad breath in most people. So, unless you have to be on a restrictive diet, be sure to get some healthy carbohydrates into your diet every day, or at very least a balance of fats and proteins as the proteins can help counteract ketone-fueled bad breath.
While these are my favorite solutions to neutralize bad breath, there are a number of natural ways to fight stinky breath. What is your favorite natural bad breath-busting ingredient? Let us know in the comments below!