Our breath is sometimes as not as fresh it can be throughout the day. But when it starts to really hinder your ability to approach people, you may have a serious bad breath problem.
Of course, there are a number of ways to combat halitosis, and breath mints are often the first “go to” option. But not all mints are created equal. Some work to cover up bad breath, while others can work 24/7 to keep halitosis at bay.
Here’s how to choose the right mints for not-so-fresh breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is fairly harmless and rarely indicative of anything serious. The top six causes, according to the American Dental Association, are:
- Bacteria that feed on food residue and produce waste that causes an odor.
- Dry mouth caused by insufficient production of saliva.
- Gum disease caused by plaque.
- Strong-scented foods such as garlic and onions.
- Smoking tobacco.
- Medical conditions, including mouth infections or illnesses such as kidney disease.
How Can Mints Help Your Breath?
The science behind using breath fresheners in the form of candies or gum is simple. Sucking or chewing something results in the production of extra saliva, which washes your mouth and teeth clean of any odor-causing bacteria. At the same time, the minty scent helps to mask the odor in the short-term while the saliva is produced, so you have a short-term and a long-term solution in one. The success of this method, however, depends on the ingredients in your mint.
Ingredients in a Breath Mint
Most hard candies, including breath freshening mints, contain sugar or artificial sweeteners that feed the bacteria that causes the problem. Many products also contain protein from gelatin, another primary bacteria food. For these reasons, even the strongest-flavored mints are unlikely to do more than mask the odor, which is why I recommend chewing sugarless gum instead of breath mints. Gum has the additional benefit of keeping your mouth working and producing saliva long after a candy-type mint would have been consumed.
If you’re a devotee of using breath mints, aim for products that contain all-natural ingredients like xylitol for sweetness and natural flavors. Products that contain a saliva stimulator are also beneficial for countering bad breath.
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