Let’s start with the root cause of bad breath: volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). While they sound more like fumes you’d emit from your butt than your mouth, scientists say these substrates are what typically lead to halitosis.
Volatile sulfur compounds are thought to arise from the interaction of oral bacteria that occurs in conditions like gum disease and infections, and within pockets and crevices of your teeth.
Which brings us to that complete strategy on how to stop bad breath.
Always Clean your tongue.
This helps disturb and remove the bacteria that create volatile sulfur compounds, and leads to a reduction in their odor. You can do this by literally brushing your tongue, but an even better approach is to scrape your tongue from back to front with a plastic tongue scraper.
Brush and floss twice a day.
This isn’t a surprise, of course. It is another solution on how to stop bad breath, You’ll remove tiny food particles and microorganisms that can lead to those volatile sulfur compounds. If you don’t floss, try it and then give the floss a sniff. Smell nasty? You’ve probably uncovered a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria—and hopefully gained motivation to start flossing regularly. Keep in mind that gingivitis and periodontitis can lead to volatile sulfur compounds and bad breath, so regular dental checkups are a must.
Keep your mouth well-hydrated.
When you experience “dry mouth,” dead cells on your tongue, gums, and cheeks might build up. Without enough saliva to wash them away, bacteria will begin to feed off the dead cells and multiply. This produces a bunch of sulfur-related molecules that trigger bad breath.
If you frequently feel like your mouth is dry, try an over-the-counter rinse like Biotene, which has been shown to help with dry mouth. If your breath really reeks and you don’t have a rinse around, simply swish your mouth out with plain water.