If you’re wondering why people lean back whenever you start speaking, the answer could very well lie in the smell of your breath. Last year, we had interviewed close to 100 teens about their oral hygiene, and a shockingly high percentage of them scored poorly in basic hygiene practices. Even the ones who scored well in practice, seemed to have a few common misconceptions. Here are the top three bad breath myths, busted.
Mouthwash and chewing gum kills bad breath Umm, nope. They may be a temporary solution, but unless you do something about the bacteria in your mouth that’s causing the halitosis, you’ll soon be back to blowing holes through tin plates. When buying kind, look for the anti-bacterial mouthwash that also deals with plaque. And when using mouthwash, remember to take a whole capful and swirl it inside your mouth for a good 30 seconds before you spit it out, for it to be truly effective. Remember, mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing.
Just brush, and the bad breath is history Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you do, but how you do it, that counts?” This also goes for brushing. When brushing your teeth, remember to take time (2 minutes, minimum, as opposed to the average 45 seconds people spend brushing their teeth), and to clean your tongue, which is where the bacteria hang out. The average Bangladeshi teen doesn’t brush their teeth before bed. This is a serious no-no. You should be brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once.
Want to check if you have bad breath? Breathe into your hand Unless you’re making like Shahrukh Khan and breathing out words from the epiglottis, you’re not calling hair from the back of your mouth where bad breath forms and chillaxes, and even then, we’re so used to our own odours, we’re not the best judge. When in doubt, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom for a quick gargle. Keep sugar-free mints handy as a temporary solution.
If you brush and floss regularly and have good oral hygiene in general, halitosis, under normal circumstances, shouldn’t be a problem. If bad breath persists, make an appointment with your doctor, as it may indicate some health problem.