When it comes to bad breath, we’ve all been culprits. The key is getting to it and fixing it as fast as possible, and hopefully before any friends are lost.
The majority of breath mints are high in sugar. Sugar does not actually hurt the teeth or gums directly, but it feeds bacteria, allowing the harmful bacteria to breed. This is why dentists recommend sugar-free gum, but with breath mints, there are not many sugar-free options available. Many brands of breath mints are composed of sugar more than any other ingredient. Even sugar-free breath mints, when they can be found, have no ability to actually remove the bacteria that causes bad breath in the first place. The minty flavor and scent merely conceals bad breath for a short period of time.
Some alternatives to using breath mints to temporarily eliminate bad breath include chewing sugar-free gum. The chewing action increases the production of saliva, which can help to wash away food particles after eating. Disposable toothbrushes that don’t need water are another alternative. Bottled breath sprays, like mints, are a temporary cover that may contain sugar and do no particular good for your teeth or gums.
While sugar-free gum or disposable toothbrushes are safe and reasonably effective at concealing bad breath, if you find yourself reaching for them frequently, it may indicate that you have a problem that needs to be treated. Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, is a sign of a problem with bacteria and possible gum disease. Even if you don’t have gum disease yet, if you have chronic halitosis, it is likely that you have enough bad bacteria in your mouth that you are likely to get gum disease. The sooner you get the problem treated, the easier the treatment is. Gum disease caught in its early stages is easily reversible, and getting rid of it will not only help your gums and teeth, but it will help your problem with bad breath as well.