Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is probably the best way to keep bad breath, or halitosis, at bay. That and avoiding some of the most common bad-breath offenders, like tobacco products, onions and garlic, can keep your breath fresh most of the day.
But you probably know that already. So let’s say you’ve forgone this advice and just eaten a big Greek salad full of red onions and a bowl of pasta covered in garlic. And now you’ve got a business presentation, or a first date, or an appointment with a new client starting in 10 minutes.
You need to freshen your breath, fast, and there’s no toothbrush in sight. Don’t panic! Try one of the tips that follow, which are among the quickest and most effective fresh-breath remedies out there.
Freshen Your Breath Fast: 8 Tips
- Peppermint Essential Oil: Place a drop on your tongue for instant freshening. It’s like an instant breath mint but better. Keep a bottle in your desk drawer, your car and your purse or briefcase.
- Sip Green Tea: Green tea has both disinfectant and deodorant properties, and sipping a cup has been found to reduce volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air (which are known to cause bad breath) better than chewing gum or mints.[i] If you’re out at a restaurant and need some refreshing, order a cup, stat!
- Eat Crudités: At a cocktail party and forgot to brush? Make your way to the appetizer station and help yourself to celery and cucumbers. These veggies help boost your saliva production, which will help to wash away odor-causing bacteria. A slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth may also help to deodorize.
- Chew Cinnamon Sticks: Chewing on a small chunk of cinnamon stick will kill odor-causing bacteria in your mouth.
- Bite an Apple: Apples work much like celery and cucumbers, helping to increase saliva and wash away bacteria. They’ve also been shown to help reduce “garlic breath” after study participants consumed raw garlic.[ii]
- Chew Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds are used as a traditional breath freshener in some cultures for good reason – they increase the production of saliva to wash bacteria away and also contain antibacterial properties to kill odor-causing germs. You can keep fennel seeds in a tin in your purse, car or desk drawer, then chew on five or 10 when you need to freshen up.
- Drink Some Water: This is one tip that virtually everyone can use. Like fibrous vegetables, water increases saliva in your mouth, which helps remove odor-causing particles. Dry mouth is also known to contribute to bad breath, and drinking water will help combat this, at least temporarily.
- Use a Tongue Scraper: Using a tongue scraper has been shown to significantly reduce bad breath for up to two hours,[iii] which should tide you over long enough to get to a sink to brush your teeth.
Finally, did you know that blowing into your cupped hands isn’t the most effective way to check for bad breath? A better way is to lick the back of your hand (or scrape the back of your tongue with a spoon), let it dry and then smell it. If it’s stinky, there’s a good chance your breath is too, so refer back to the tips above.
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Written By: Updated: October 9,2015