1. Excessive reliance on mouthwash. Dump gallons of mouthwash down your gullet … at your own risk. Mouthwash not only dries out your mouth, it eventually leads to a dirty residue that creates conditions much worse than you started with. Instead of trying to mask the problem, take a close look at ways you can improve your oral hygiene program.
2. Breath mints and flavors. Just because your mouth has a pleasant scent (for now) doesn’t mean it’s a paragon of health. Using mints excessively to mask a chronic problem can not only create a safe haven for bad bacteria, it can seriously tip the scales in favor of tooth decay – which does your breath no favors.
3. Chewing gum. Chewing gum has a positive side: it increases the flow or your saliva, which tends to improve your breath. But in the long run, chewing gum only masks bad breath and the results are predictably temporary. In addition, there’s evidence that excessive chewing can lead to TMJ, and proof that it can exacerbate cases of bruxism, or nighttime tooth-grinding. Instead of chewing gum, try drinking more water throughout the day. It not only helps out your mouth, it gives all your internal organs a boost (not to mention your skin).
4. Chewing tobacco. Although it’s hard to believe that some people choose this route to better oral health, you can more or less see the argument — after all, what types of life forms could possibly withstand the killing onslaught of chewing tobacco? The problem, of course, is that *you* are a life form as well, and smokeless tobacco is a proven health hazard. Not only do you run a heavy risk of oral cancer, the tobacco actually causes your gums to dissolve, leading to loosened teeth. This is clearly not a strategy anyone should be using in pursuit of better breath.
5. Infomercial Products. No matter how tempting the ad or how instant the gratification might seem when you view the testimonials, it’s better to Just Say No. (Just like you Just Say No to all those beautiful rings and bracelets that float by on QVC.) Only buy items that boast a Seal of Approval from a respected authority, such as the American Dental Association. Never use any items lacking a quality certificate from a well-known and established review board.
6. Vodka, scotch or whiskey. Although this might be considered one of the more enjoyable tactics in the fight for better breath, it simply won’t work. Alcohol is a drying agent and may make your problem even worse by turning your mouth into a mini-replica of the Sahara, which anaerobic bacteria will just love.
7. Brushing with cleanser. Now we move onto the more desperate approaches people have taken to rid themselves of a vexing and embarrassing problem. In hopes of delivering a blast no bacteria could withstand, some bad-breath sufferers have turned to household cleansers. A large number of cleaning chemicals used in your home are poisonous, pure and simple. They should never be used for brushing your teeth or tongue.
8. Intestinal cleansing methods. Although you can find plenty of expensive supplements and programs that tell you differently, bad breath almost never originates from the stomach or intestine (except in the case of a serious underlying medical problem, which intestinal cleansing products won’t fix). In the absence of a major medical problem, it’s your mouth that produces that unpleasant odor from the decay and putrefaction of leftover food, often in hidden bacterial pockets.
9. Rinsing with kerosene. Yes, it’s been done. This is a horrific choice — and there are few ways to harm yourself worse. To beat bad breath, you need to educate yourself, not poison yourself.
10. Tongue piercing. Tongue piercing is the last thing you want to do if you have a breath odor issue of any kind. Tongue piercing involves a lasting laceration– in other words, it creates a permanent wound. Talk about providing a harbor for dangerous or just plain noxious oral bacterial. Tongue piercing is almost sure to increase the unpleasant odors in your mouth — while drawing attention to the source even more. Not a smooth move for a halitosis sufferer.