Using Mints to Freshen your Breath?

Finding the right way to freshen your breath can seem like a constant battle, especially when you consume odorous foods, such as garlic and onions. While there are many options that are perfectly healthy for your teeth, mints are not one of them. While powerful enough to freshen your breath, these hard candies can cause further damage to your teeth, putting you at risk for excessive tooth decay.

The Disadvantages of Mints

Mints, just like any other hard candy, are sucked on, which prolongs the amount of time that your mouth is exposed to its sugar. As you suck on the mints, the sugar is spread throughout your mouth, hitting many teeth, putting them at risk for tooth decay. This is especially true of your molars, as they are far back enough to capture the bacteria without getting properly brushed away, exposing your teeth to decay producing acids for a long period of time. Other disadvantages of mints include:

– Even though they provide fresh breath, it is a temporary fix. It is like putting a Band-Aid on a cut. The Band-Aid does not cure the cut; it just covers it up. The same is true for mints; they do not address the reason for your bad breath, whether it is from food that you ate or a dental health issue, such as tooth decay or gingivitis.

– Because the fresh breath from a mint does not last long, many people consume more than one mint at a time, prolonging the exposure of their teeth to excessive sugar. Even if you only consume one mint at a time, but eat one after every meal, you increase your chance of having cavities by a large degree.

– Mints do not help in fighting against tooth decay. There are no mints that are approved by the ADA, promoting the prevention of tooth decay. Some sugarless gums, on the other hand, contain the ingredient Xylitol, which has been shown to decrease the occurrence of cavities when chewed regularly after meals.

A Better Option

Your best chance at fighting bad breath is to brush your teeth immediately after eating. Because this is not always possible, the next best option is to drink a glass of water after eating. This allows any food debris and bacteria to be washed out of your mouth. This will decrease the presence of bad breath as well as your risk for tooth decay.