1. Eat a low-carb diet balanced with fats and proteins.
Fatty foods break down and create ketones, a byproduct of fat that sits in your stomach and ferments; the odor of ketones then come back up through your esophagus and can stick to your tongue. That's why it's important to add healthy carbs like broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fresh fruits into your diet, which balance out the fats and promote better breath.
2. Don't forget your veggies.
Not only will your mom be proud, greens promote a more alkaline environment, so the bad-breath-causing acid in your body balances out.
3. Snack on more apples or any other crunchy, healthy foods.
The hard texture of apples, celery, carrots, etc., can remove food caught between your teeth and rub away bacteria that sit on them, creating that "sweater" feeling when you run your tongue over your teeth. Hard, crunchy foods act like a natural toothbrush.
4. Drink 48 ounces of water a day.
H2O lubricates your mouth, keeping bacteria at bay, and also keeps your body functioning normally. Bottled sports drinks, sodas, and some bottled iced teas are preserved with citric acid, which not only contributes to bad breath but wears away the enamel on your teeth. Soda is even more acidic and can literally take paint off wall, so lower your intake of drinks of the sort and replace them will good, old water.
5. Drink more green juice and less coffee.
Green juice contains low levels of acid, while coffee contains high amounts, which can lead to bad breath. And keeping your body at an alkaline level rather than an acidic level will make it function better overall.
6. Chew on fresh mint leaves or parsley.
If you want to naturally freshen your breath, stash one of these herbs in a sandwich bag and take them to go. The mint will help freshen your breath and up your greens intake, and the parsley contains chlorophyll, Dr. Jablow says, which works against the creation of volatile sulphur compounds, aka the rotten egg smell (caused by hydrogen sulfide) and the barnyard smell (caused by methyl mercaptan).
7. Take probiotics.
Probiotics give you the proper enzymes you need to break down foods sufficiently and decrease the chance of food fermenting in your stomach. They help you get all the nutrients out of your food as well.
8. Brush and floss every single day.
Sure, flossing is an extra step, but it's an important one. Brushing your teeth helps eradicate the plaque and bacteria on your teeth, but flossing helps dislodge anything that your toothbrush couldn't get to. If you don't floss regularly, the food in between your teeth will feed the bacteria in your mouth, and the more nutrients you give the bacteria, the more the bacteria will give off stinky acids that cause bad breath.
9. Clean your tongue.
Bacteria stick to your taste buds, then release a waste byproduct that causes a gross stench. When you use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue, you remove any bacteria, byproducts from the bacteria, or plaque that form.
10. Rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash that contains a zinc compound.
The goal is to always keep your mouth moist, because your saliva helps wash away odor- and cavity-causing bacteria. Alcohol dries your mouth out and leads to more bacteria and eventually bad breath. Dr. Glassman suggests opting for a mouthwash without alcohol or even creating your own at home using 1 tablespoon baking soda poured into 1 cup warm water with a few drops of essential peppermint oil. "The baking soda is antibacterial, there isn't any alcohol it in, and it can help freshen your breath in a pinch if you run out of mouthwash," she says.
"It's also important to pick up an alcohol-free mouthwash with a zinc compound in it, since zinc kills the volatile sulphur compounds," Dr. Jablow says.
11. Chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol.
Chewing gum increases salivary flow and helps remove some bacteria and staining, but you want to make it's sugar-free so you're not feeding the bacteria in your mouth and contributing to bad breath. Opt for a brand that contains the sweetener xylitol, which is antibacterial. It helps fight cavities and bacteria while improving the health of your teeth and gums.
12. Pop a breath gel in your purse.
If you have temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ) and can't chew gum, use an on-the-go breath gel with xylitol to freshen you breath in a snap.
13. Steer clear of cigarettes.
Smoking not only dries out your mouth and body tissues, the nicotine actually squeezes the blood vessels so you're not getting healthy saliva flow. This combo is what disrupts your mouth's normal functioning process and leads to bad breath. To avoid this from happening, stop smoking or never start. Ever.
14. Apply flavored lipgloss.
This isn't going to turn your garlic breath into the most amazing-smelling breath ever, but it will help mask the odor until you get the chance to brush and floss your teeth.
15. Visit your dentist regularly.
Especially if your bad breath isn't going away and you've tried all of the above, since you could be dealing with something more serious.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.