Who hasn’t panicked looking for a gum or mint before heading into an afternoon meeting? Or kept your distance from a friend during a dinner party? Bad breath, or halitosis, can get in the way of your social life and can make you self-conscious. Luckily, there are several quick and easy ways to get a fresh mouth.

  1. Brush and floss more frequently– Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. The sticky buildup caused by food harbors bacteria and can create less-than-lovely breath during your day.
  2. Scrape your tongue– The coating that forms on your tongue can host foul-smelling bacteria. All you need to do is grab your toothbrush and gently scrape your tongue. If this is uncomfortable, you can grab a tongue scraper. This process eliminates bacteria, food debris, and dead cells that brushing and mouthwash cannot.
  3. Rinse your mouth out– Anti-bacterial mouthwashes freshens your breath, but can also add extra protection by reducing plaque-causing bacteria. In a pinch, you can rinse your mouth out with water after you eat to remove food particles.
  4. Keep your gums healthy– Gum disease or periodontal disease is a common cause of bad breath. Bacteria gathers in pockets at the base of teeth and creates bad odors.
  5. Chew gum instead of mints– Chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva which is the mouth’s natural defense against plaque acids which cause tooth decay and bad breath.

If your bad breath continues, see your doctor who can check on whether it may be related to a medial condition.