Got foul breath (again)? If you’ve ruled out all of the reasons you have halitosis—and you’re not making any common tooth-brushing mistakes—don’t despair. There is actually a simple yet reliable cure for bad breath, and it’s the last thing most people think of.
Stinky-smelling breath could be a sign you’re dehydrated, according to Dr. Ada S. Cooper, D.D.S., a national spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “Don’t think that living a life of mouth wash four times a day is always going to cure your bad breath,” she told Business Insider. “When your mouth becomes more dry, you have less saliva. And when you have less saliva, food and bacteria tends to sit in your mouth for a much longer period of time.”
She says that drinking more water every day can (almost certainly) keep the dentist away. And beware of drinking coffee or alcohol, smoking, or certain medications; all of them can cause dry mouth, Dr. Cooper says. Staying away from these unhealthy foods for your teeth would be a good idea, too. (Here’s how much water you should really be drinking.)
Of course, there are other reasons for bad breath, beyond a simple dry mouth or poor hygiene. Dr. Cooper recommends always brushing your teeth at night, since trapped food and bacteria can produce an odor while you sleep. If your bad breath sticks around, a dentist might need to help you uncover the root cause of your halitosis.
Follow these surprising ways to keep your teeth healthy.
Originally published as This Is the Easiest Way to Get Rid of Bad Breath, According to a Dentist on ReadersDigest.com.