You may think you are helping yourself out by popping a breath mint or two when you are concerned you have bad breath, but in reality they are only temporarily masking an underlying issue. And because most are high in sugar they may be actually doing more harm than good by feeding the bacteria already present. Instead chew sugarless gum or keep some disposable toothbrushes handy.
Are Breath Mints Bad for Your Teeth?
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.
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.
See Your Dentist and Hygienist
Dr.’s James Reisman and Jordana Contrucci of C R Dental Group in Dallas, Tx strongly urge patients to see their dentist at least twice a year. More hygiene visits may be necessary if periodontal problems are found. Contact your dentist if you feel you may have underlying issues. The sooner you address the problem, 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.