Main image courtesy of SciTechDaily.

Although we don’t like to think about it, everyone at one time or another has experienced bad breath. Whether it’s your own breath, or someone else’s, it can definitely be an embarrassing situation. No one wants to deal with bad breath at any time of the year, but most especially on Valentine’s Day! 

Whether you’ve got a big date to celebrate V-Day, or are celebrating Galentine’s Day instead, you want to make sure your breath is as fresh as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure you’re using a good mouthwash. 

Want to know which ones work best? Keep reading because we’re going to discuss:

  • What causes bad breath in the first place
  • How to choose a mouthwash and properly use it
  • Best mouthwashes for bad breath

What Causes Bad Breath?

What actually causes someone to have bad breath?

woman using mouthwash

Bad breath is no fun, but it can be avoided! Image courtesy of West 85th Dental.

No one wants to encounter bad breath. Whether you notice a bad taste in your mouth and are wondering why, or you’re speaking to someone with disagreeable breath, there’s always a reason for it. Although there could be a few reasons why you’re experiencing bad breath (also known as oral malodor or halitosis), the most likely cause is your oral health regimen. If you’ve been slacking lately when it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums, your breath could be a reflection of that. 

If you don’t remove food particles daily, they can eventually start to form plaque, which is a sticky build up of bacteria. When the bacteria are not removed, they contribute to bad breath. If you neglect your oral hygiene routine for a while, you may also start to notice the signs of gingivitis or even cavities, which can also both contribute to bad breath. 

You should be taking care of your oral health daily, and follow a routine that consists of:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Using a mouthwash to rinse

Sticking to a good oral health routine will ensure you’re removing the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath on a daily basis. 

Although poor oral health is one of the major reasons behind bad breath, it isn’t the only one. You may also experience poor breath because of the foods you eat. Foods with strong odors like garlic, spices, or cheese could cause you to have bad breath. Other reasons you may experience this unfortunate condition include:

  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • High sugar foods
  • Diets that eliminate foods such as low carb or high protein
  • Smoking
  • Dry mouth
  • Digestive issues such as acid reflux

How to Choose (and Use) a Mouthwash

How do you pick out a mouthwash that’s right for you?

mouthwash and toothbrushes

Learn the difference between a cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwash. Image courtesy of Lotus Family Dental.

Now that you know what is causing bad breath, it’s time to do something about it! In addition to brushing and flossing, mouthwash is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. But how do you know which one is best for you? Well, that depends on what you want your mouthwash to do.  

When you’re considering a mouthwash, ask yourself:

  • Do you want it to include alcohol? Alcohol can be drying, and sometimes it causes irritation when used in a mouthwash. If you want to ensure you’re not promoting dry mouth and limiting your production of saliva, consider going with an alcohol-free mouthwash. 
  • Do you want it to target the bacteria that causes bad breath? There are mouthwashes available that can target bacteria that cause bad breath, as well as promote healthy gums and limit cavities.
  • Do you have teeth or gum sensitivity? If you find mouthwashes to be irritating, especially ones with alcohol, you’ll want to go with a mouthwash designed for sensitive teeth or gums. You could also opt for a natural mouthwash that may contain soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or chamomile.

Once you answer these questions, you can start to narrow your search. Basically there are two types of mouthwashes, cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes can help temporarily provide fresh breath, but unlike therapeutic ones, do not necessarily contain ingredients to fight plaque, cavities, or bad breath. 

If you want to ensure you’re killing the bacteria that cause bad breath and plaque build up, you may want to look into getting a therapeutic mouthwash that’s designed to do just that. 

However, no matter what mouthwash you choose, in order to get all the benefits, make sure you're using it correctly! Always read the label of your specific mouthwash, but in general you can follow these guidelines:

  • Pour the correct amount into the cap of the mouthwash
  • Empty the whole cup in your mouth and do not dilute it (unless you were instructed to do so by your dentist.)
  • Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds
  • Gargle the mouthwash
  • Spit the mouthwash out

Best Mouthwashes for Bad Breath

Consider trying out these options to fight bad breath every day, including Valentine’s Day!

man and woman smiling for Valentine's day

You won’t have to worry about bad breath on Valentine’s Day when you use one of these mouthwashes. Image courtesy of Glaminati.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to bad breath, remember to keep up with your oral hygiene routine, and visit your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleanings. In the meantime, why not add these mouthwashes to your regimen and fight back against bad breath?

Those are our top picks to keep your breath fresh this Valentine’s Day, and every day in between! If you have additional questions regarding which mouthwash is best for you, consider making an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Wakim today